A lot more needs to be done to end gender discrimination, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Monday

“Much progress has been made but even today nowhere in the world can women claim to have the same rights and opportunities as men and they still face inequity and marginalisation,” Ms. Kumar told the House in her reference to International Women's Day.

Describing it as an occasion to celebrate and honour achievements of ordinary women in their quest for equality, justice, peace and development and highlight the needs and concerns on national, regional and global agendas, Ms. Kumar said gender equality and women's empowerment were fundamental to the global mission of the United Nations to achieve equal rights and dignity for all. “These ideals so firmly rooted in our democracy are enshrined in our Constitution.”

The Speaker said:

“Even in this first decade of the 21{+s}{+t} century, we find women still have less access to basic health care, education, employment and decision-making. Maternal mortality remains unacceptably high. Female foeticide, dowry deaths, honour killing of girls and the growing violence against women are a cause for serious concern as we find majority of the disadvantaged women living lives in close proximity with their oppressors and perpetrators of crime.

“There is an urgent need to address these disparities and aberrations and shape public opinion and perceptions so that women have freedom to define and achieve their full potential and live purposeful lives.”

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