Women will try their hardest if they join Parliament thru competition
Dr. Hamida Hossain, Women Rights Activist and Founder, Ain o Salish Kendra: If women are able to join Parliament through direct votes and sheer competition, they will be able to move Heaven and Earth. I do not believe the provision to extend election of members in reserved women seats in Parliament for the next 25 years to be appropriate; because women want to participate in everything.
Their willingness to participate in politics is especially notable. They want to advance based on equality. Unfortunately, without the crucial support of political parties, they face great obstacles in their path to progress.
The problem with reserved seats is that the selections are made at home. Those who join Parliament through reserved system cannot raise their voice in any special issue. This is reflected in the records of the previous Parliament. This is because they are not given permission to raise their voices. It is my belief that women will be more active if they have their own background in politics. Women participation in parliament is at an all-time low, because they are selected into the House by someone else from the party. Everyone gives their attention to that person. Everyone follows whatever the party chief says. The party chief’s wishes, whatever they may be, will be echoed by the reserve members!
The Election Commission once advised every political party to ensure women participation in different committees. Even though I don’t personally believe in the quota process, this was a good decision, nonetheless. But this is not simply a matter of parliament; political participation is also lacking. The nominated parties have an obligation to fulfill if women are to be brought into parliament.
Our election participation system is adequate; however, it is not being followed. During election-time, gangs or financial power is abused; this has to be brought under control. We have to mould our practices befitting a civilized nation, even though I doubt whether ‘civilized nations’ exist anymore. If the Election Commission can be empowered, a fair election-friendly climate can be created. In that case, women will be able to achieve much through participating in direct votes.
Based on an interview by Ashiq Rahman, translated by Abrar Hussain