India's upper house has passed a landmark bill that reserves one-third of seats in parliament and state legislatures for women.
The upper house approved the measure Tuesday, with 186 of the chamber's 245 members voting for it. Only one lawmaker voted against it. Others boycotted the vote. The bill now goes to the lower house.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the bill's upper house passage a "historic step" in the long journey toward empowering women. Mr. Singh presented the Women's Reservation Bill for a vote Monday, but it was delayed after heated debate.
Critics argue that a portion of the women's quota should be set aside for minorities and lower caste members.
Women occupy 59 slots in the 545-member lower house (Lok Sabha, or House of the Peoples). They occupy 21 of the 250 seats in the upper house (Rajya Sabha, or Council of States).