Making a strong pitch for women’s reservation in Parliament and state legislatures, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan today said it was something that should be given “respectfully” without any bickering. Asserting that reservation for women was the need of the hour, she criticised those opposing the proposal, alluding to protests against it in Parliament in the past. “When we ask for reservation, it is not like somebody is giving us something. It is because it is important that women should come ahead. They are fifty per cent of the population but in making a nation, they are a full circle. “All of us are for reservation. We don’t want something like that…somebody tears off documents in Parliament.
Somebody is shouting ‘yes, yes, yes’ and somebody is saying ‘no, no, no’. It is respectfully that the reservation should be given,” she said.
She was speaking at the valedictory session on the concluding day of the National Women’s Parliament here.
Addressing a gathering of over 22,000 women including girl students and delegates from across the globe, Mahajan said that empowerment was not women’s “fight with man”, but whatever she “deserved”.
Drawing an analogy between a woman’s nature and the course of a river, she said that the former, like a brook, does not fight with what comes in its way but diverts and draws a new path.
“Like a river, a woman has to make her own path. It is on the banks of a river that life prospers,” she said.
Earlier at the National Women’s Parliament, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu had assured, on behalf of his BJP, that they would pass the women’s reservation bill, once they get a majority in the Rajya Sabha.
Lauding the initiative undertaken by the Andhra Pradesh government, Mahajan said the convention was a “continuation of our endeavour to empower women and to help them in contributing towards nation building”.
She said that they could share the practice with legislators and speakers from different assemblies under the Indian Parliamentary Group, which “could be led by Chandrababu Naidu”, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.
Mahajan also urged the people to contribute, in their respective capacities, towards mitigating the problems faced by women in helping to empower them to contribute to the country’s development.
“It is my hope that new perspectives and insights you gained during this convention through the exchange of views and experiences will help you to bring about positive outcomes for women in the society.
“We have to now move from development and empowerment of women to women-led development and empowerment,” she said.
The three-day parliament saw over 29 speakers from different walks of life deliberating on the various challenges concerning women including on women’s status and decision-making power, vision for the future and women as change makers in global scenario, among others.
Fifty-four round table conferences with girl students from across the country were also held on issues like women’s health, their role and participation in politics and their social protection among others.