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Ansari for empowerment, wife not quite convinced

delhi Updated: Mar 30, 2010 23:24 IST
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Vice-President Hamid Ansari may have chaired one of the most difficult Rajya Sabha sessions in history, which saw the House pass the women’s reservation bill on March 9, but his wife does not seem to be impressed.

Making her views public on the issue, Salma Ansari has said she has a “problem” with the bill to reserve one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures.

“I have a problem with this bill. The government comes up with a lot of schemes and many projects but how many women are able to take advantage of these?” she said at a function in Agra on Monday.

“Till the time women are not educated, unless they understand that they have to take care of their lives themselves, no matter how many such bills are passed, there will be no benefit to the grassroot-level women,” she said.

Hamid Ansari, however, made a strong pitch for the empowerment of women at a lecture in Mumbai on Tuesday.

“The participation of women in political decision-making at middle and higher levels is abysmally low,” he said, delivering the convocation address of the Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University. “Less than 11 per cent of the seats in Lok Sabha are held by women. The situation is worse in the case of state assemblies where less than 8 per cent of the lawmakers are women,” the Vice-President said. The State’s responsibility on gender issues is not in doubt and it is committed to gender equality, Ansari said.

“The national discourse on the gender question has traveled a good distance and gathered momentum. It should remain focused on promotion of meaningful equity and on enhancing choices,” he remarked.

Ansari faced tough moments in the Rajya Sabha on March 8 and 9, when seven MPs belonging to parties opposin the bill, tried to manhandle him.