Veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva on Sunday said the Narendra Modi government could easily ensure passage of women’s reservation bill, but it was not being brought to the Lok Sabha because the male politicians feared losing their seats. “The bill…has been passed by the Rajya Sabha and the present government has an overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha. It can be passed instantly, but they are not bringing it to the Lok Sabha,” she said.
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“Since the bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha, it does not get lapsed as Rajya Sabha is a permanent house. All parties are committed. So you have people who are committed to give you the support. Why are they not bringing it? Because, they are afraid that it will be passed and they don’t want to give up their seats,” she said during a discussion at the Tata Literature Live festival in Mumbai.
The former Rajasthan Governor also said that discrimination against women has been sanctified by religious practises and traditions. “It makes it even more difficult to break them when family laws, inheritance laws are made against women because women have not been made part of decision-making. These are laws made by men for the protection of men and women have no say,” she said.
“The basic issue is impact of poverty on the lives of women….governments have just taken women, particularly poor and rural women for granted because they are not organised and they don’t have trade unions or powerful lobbies behind them,” the former Union Minister said.
Alva further said the women are always looked upon as production machines, and health policies focus on lactating women and those who are about to give birth, but not those who are older and suffer from menopause trauma, or the teenage pregnancies.
“These issues are not considered important. Women, once they have passed the child-bearing period, have no consequence. Women are never admitted to hospitals. Focus on issues related to womens’ health has been missing and there have been not enough voices to raise these issues,” she said.
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