Mukherjee urges law makers to ensure gender sensitivity
President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday urged law makers to make responsive policies to ensure gender sensitivity and equality, and added that mere representation is not enough to address social issues.
Inaugurating the seventh meeting of women speakers of parliament in Central Hall of Parliament here, President Mukherjee said: "At present, women constitute 11 percent of the 15th Lok Sabha. This is a vast improvement from only five percent in the 1st Lok Sabha. But although the percentage of Indian women parliamentarians has increased over the years, it is still lower in comparison to countries like Sweden, Argentina, the UK and the USA."
"I am sure that it is a matter of time before the number will be increased significantly. Of course, we should remain cognizant of the fact that gender equality and sensitivity is not guaranteed simply by the presence and number of women in parliament. It depends on a parliament's level of recognition of the importance of gender sensitivity, its responsive policies and infrastructure," he added.
Asserting that sustainable economic and social development can best be spearheaded by well-designed initiatives involving women leaders, Mukherjee said: "With access to and control over productive resources such as food banks and cooperatives, and programmes related to health campaigns and nutrition awareness, women now have the wherewithal to take collective decisions on the way these should best be implemented in their area or jurisdiction."
"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 added.
He further informed that Government of India, through its Finance Ministry, has introduced Gender Budgeting to ensure that in all financial outlays there is a specific element or component that is meant for the benefit of women in India.
"This has been successfully implemented across the sectors and every line Ministry is required to report on their execution of the gender budgeting stipulations. This needs to be taken further," he added.
Further paying tribute and thanking them for their contribution to the shaping of the India of today, and their legacy, Mukherjee said: " Women have a unique perspective of problems and a great aptitude for innovative solutions. And that is why I anticipate that this conference will undoubtedly generate a significant amount of positive energy and many far reaching initiatives. This will be an occasion to exchange information and best practices."
"Distinguished Delegates, I congratulate you on your leadership and commitment to creating a more gender sensitive parliamentary environment. I look forward to the outcome of your work in this conference. I congratulate Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar for her initiative to host this conference in India. While I may not have the opportunity to meet each one of you, I wish you great success in your work over the next two days and assure you of my unstinting support," he added.