With the stage set for taking up the long-pending Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Saturday said the proposed legislation “holds many unrealised promises towards women's political empowerment.”
She was speaking at the Women's Leadership Summit on ‘Inclusive Growth and Empowering Women of Rural India' here.
“The 73rd and 74th amendments stand as a landmark initiative with regard to the political empowerment of women. The Constitution stands in support of women as India was one of the first countries where women were given the right to vote.”
In fulfilling its commitment to ensure and monitor women's empowerment, Parliament set up in 1997 the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Empowerment of Women, which works on almost all areas of legislation and other initiatives intended to bring about the empowerment of women,” Ms. Kumar said.
“The current situation demands an integrated approach with strict target-oriented goals which would ensure better education, vocational training and health-related facilities, thus empowering rural women with multiple livelihood options suitable for the socio-economic set-up.”
Take relook at education
The Speaker expressed surprise that the incidence of dowry and foeticide was prevalent among the so-called educated classes, adding this necessitated a re-look at the education system.
“Lack of access for women to proper information and health care facilities has translated into high infant mortality rates, maternal mortality rates, reproductive diseases and a greater incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.
“Gender discrimination leads to inadequate and low calorie food being given to women and girls in their own family, which often results in malnutrition and other health problems,” Ms. Kumar said.
Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said the dream of a developed India would not be fulfilled unless women, in particular rural women, were empowered.