Saying there is gender discrimination in the northeast when it
comes to politics, women's commissions in the states of the region
have pressed for 33 percent reservation for women in assemblies
The representation of women in the region - which has a population
of around 38.5 million (2001 census) - is a mere 4.5 percent, with
only 21 women legislators in the seven legislative assemblies that
have a total strength of 466.
"There is gender discrimination when it comes to women in
politics. We had tried our best to convince our men to allow women
to take part in the electoral battle, but all in vain," Mizoram
State Women's Commission chairperson Lalnipuii told IANS on phone.
There is no representation of the fairer sex in the Mizoram and
"This (no women's representation) is very discouraging even though
women are good, if not better, than men," she said.
"To see more women in the assemblies and parliament, I think we
need to come together as the state women's commissions and ask for
the implementation of 33 percent reservation," Lalnipuii added.
The Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court had directed the
Nagaland government to hold elections to municipal and town
councils in the state along with strict implementation of 33
percent women's reservation during polls.
Nagaland State Women's Commission chairperson Sano Vamuzo told
IANS, "There is strong opposition against women taking part in
electoral politics, but there is a silver lining for us after the
court's order directed the Nagaland government to implement the 33
percent women's reservation during the municipal and town council
The women's reservation bill seeking 33 percent reservation has
been hanging fire in parliament for want of a consensus among
political parties. It was passed in the Rajya Sabha but not in the
Assam leads in the number of women legislators in the northeast,
with 14 of them in the 126-member house. Of them, two are
Tripura has three women legislators and Arunachal Pradesh two.
Meghalaya, which is known for its matrilineal society, has only
one woman legislator. Ironically, the state has more women voters
Manipur, which went to the polls recently, had one woman
legislator - Okram Landhoni - in the outgoing assembly. Landhoni
is also the wife of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
"Though the social status of women in Arunachal Pradesh is high,
there is a need for women to also have a say in the democratic
setup. Therefore, it is important that a joint effort should be
made to ask for the bill to be implemented," said Gumri Ringu,
chairperson of the Arunachal Pradesh state women's commission.
"Since half of the population in the northeast comprises women, I
think we need to have 50 percent reservation in the legislatures,"
Echoing her counterparts in the region, Ipetombi Devi, chairperson
of the Manipur State Women's Commission, told IANS, "There is a
need that women from the region should come together and fight
jointly for 33 percent reservation so that we can get more women
representation in the assemblies and parliament."
(Raymond Raplang Kharmujai can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)