President Pratibha Patil on Monday said the Bill for the reservation of women in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies has been taken up by Rajya Sabha for its “logical conclusion“.

“The women of our nation did get a head-start in free India, as universal adult franchise was adopted.This was not the case in many other countries, where women had to strive to get their voting rights,” the President said at the launch of National mission: Socio-economic empowerment of women, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

“To increase the representation of women in elected bodies of the local urban bodies and the Panchayati Raj institutions, it is proposed to increase this percentage to 50 per cent. The Women’s Reservation Bill providing for 33 per cent reservation to women in State Legislatures and in the Lok Sabha, has now been taken up in the Rajya Sabha for its logical conclusion,” she said.

Ms. Patil said legislative and administrative initiatives to empower women in India are necessary and important, but not enough.

“We also need a fundamental change in our mindsets. We need a new social reform movement, for gender equality and empowerment of our women - a movement that changes society’s attitude towards women,” Ms. Patil said.

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