The upper house of India's parliament has approved a bill to reserve a third of all seats in the national parliament and state legislatures for women.Blub.
The bill was passed with 186 members of the 245-seat house voting in favour. Only one member voted against. Several smaller parties boycotted the vote. The bill was introduced on Monday amid uproar from opponents, resulting in the suspension of seven MPs on Tuesday. First proposed in 1996, the bill now has support from India's main parties.
At present women make up just 10% of the lower house (Lok Sabha) of parliament, and significantly fewer in state assemblies.
Sonia Gandhi, Congress party president, has said she attaches the "highest importance" to the proposals and passing them would be a "gift to the women of India".
..."The bill is a historic and giant step towards empowering women and a celebration of their rights," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in the Rajya Sabha.
"Women are facing discrimination at home, there is domestic violence, unequal access to health and education. This has to end," he said.
Communist leader Brinda Karat said it would change the "culture of the country because women today are still caught in a culture prison. In the name of tradition, stereotypes are imposed and we have to fight these every day."
Opponents of the bill tore up copies in protest, sloganeered, shredded papers taken from Vice President Hamid Ansari's table and threw the scraps at him, and generally caused juvenile disarray. Seven MPs were suspended for disorderly behavior, and subsequently had to be forcibly removed from the chamber when they refused to leave.
Only in a world governed by the most absurd, deeply-entrenched misogyny would there be rioting over requiring one-third of a government to be held by one-half the population.
[H/T to Shaker GimliGirl.]