THE BJP-LED government at the Centre will pass the women’s reservation Bill once the party has a majority in Rajya Sabha, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said at the first ever National Women’s Parliament, which got underway in Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, on Friday. Addressing MPs, MLAs, businesswomen and students, among other delegates, Naidu said, “Political parties should show conviction, and the day is not far when Parliament will pass the Bill with consensus…. The Prime Minister has that in mind — once we get majority in Rajya Sabha, the Bill will be passed.”
Gender equality, Naidu claimed, was part of Indian tradition. “We had women at the top (in ancient times and myths, too). The defence ministry was monitored by Durga, Saraswati was the education minister, and the key ministry of finance was handled by Lakshmi (according to religious mythology),” he said. “The rivers are named after women; the country is called Bharat Mata (mother), and not pita (father)…. We have a tradition of equality,” he said.
Calling it a historic event, AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said the state will make this conference an annual affair. He said AP will commit itself to empowering women by implementing suggestions that emerge from the event. Stating that women are “better managers”, he said, “I have handed over my business to my wife, who has been successful more than men at work.”
Organised at Pavitra Sangamam, the point of confluence of Godawari and Krishna rivers, the event had spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Bangladesh Parliament’s Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, Maithree Wickramasinghe, academic and wife of Sri Lanka’s PM Ranil Wickramasinghe, and actor Manisha Koirala among the key speakers.