Gender sensitive Parl can better address women’s issues: Prez

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee today said sustainable economic and social development can best be spearheaded by well-designed initiatives involving women leaders and favoured their greater participation in Parliament.

Inaugurating the 7th meeting of Women Speakers of Parliament on Gender Sensitive Parliaments, he said a gender sensitive Parliament can “more insightfully” address social problems faced by women.

“By increasing rural women’s leadership and participation in decisions that shape the laws, policies and programmes that affect them, we can enable them to take charge of their own futures,” he said.

He said India had brought eight lakh women in the political process after amending the Constitution to provide for reservation to women in local bodies.

He said women have held key positions in various spheres and cited the examples of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj.

Mukherjee said women constituted 11 per cent of the 15th Lok Sabha, which was still lower in comparison to countries like Sweden, Argentina, the UK and the US.

“I am sure that it is a matter of time before the number will be increased significantly,” he said recalling that the Womens’s Reservation Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, after efforts made over two decades.

The Lok Sabha Speaker recalled the “decisive role” played by women in India in the medieval ages and in the freedom struggle. She also cited the recent examples of Sonia Gandhi, Swaraj, former President Pratibha Patil and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.