From riding a motorbike to the Parliament House and demanding introduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill to allowing women’s entry to temples for worship, women members in Lok Sabha on Tuesday said financial inclusiveness and education are key to empower their lot.
But at the same time, some women MPs also said that passage of the Women’s Bill was not the only solution, but a part of the bigger scheme of things required to uplift the stature of women in the country.
Shatabdi Roy (TMC): While today is International Women’s Day, nothing has changed the woman who works as a house maid or the one who begs on traffic signals with her child in her arms. “We don’t want a separate seat in the bus, we want to drive that bus. We don’t want separate queues…there should be no tax exemption. I want to earn Rs 5 crore and pay my full tax,” she said. Roy said the slogan of ‘beti bachao’ highlights woman as an asset who can earn for the family. “By doing this, she has been turned into a product,” she said, adding she would observe March 8 as Women’s Day if March 9 is observed as Men’s Day.
Hema Malini (BJP): Women excelled in multi-tasking and know the art of balancing between home and work. “They work a lot. They are my inspiration,” she said referring to women living in Mumbai who travel to work and handle household activities also.
Bhavna Gawali (Shiv Sena) referred to the refusal of temple authorities at Shani temple in Maharashtra from allowing women to enter the sanctum sanctorum and said “while we talk of equality, we can’t go to temples.” She said women at grassroots level have been provided reservation in local bodies, but the real show is being run by their husbands and fathers.
P K Sreemathi Teacher (CPI-M): Women constitute 12 per cent of Lok Sabha strength which should be increased. Despite Taliban threat, Afghanistan has 28 per cent reservation for women, she said.
Supriya Sule (NCP) referred to BJP member Rama Devi and P K Sreemathi Teacher to point out how they rose to become MPs despite facing odds adding that such members had no political family background.
Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP) referred to a recent speech of Vice President Hamid Ansari to point out that women have little presence in department-related Standing Committees and other panels of the two Houses as compared to their strength of 124 in the lower house.
Ranjit Ranjan (Cong) and K Geetha (YSR Congress): Reservation in Lok Sabha was not the solution but part of a larger effort needed to empower women. Ranjan said while granting reservation, it should be kept in mind that kith and kin of women MPs do not enter Parliament or local bodies, and its benefit should go to women who actually need reservation for upliftment.