'Quota okay, but empower women too'
The increased political quota may have made all-party women representatives in the state legislature happy, but they wanted a little more.mumbai Updated: Apr 14, 2011 02:06 IST
The increased political quota may have made all-party women representatives in the state legislature happy, but they wanted a little more. Their demand was for empowering women in all sectors so that they could participate comfortably in politics at all levels.
Starting a debate on the bill that increased political quota in local self-governments from 33% to 50%, Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) senior member Girish Bapat set the tone for demanding equal social and financial status for women. "We don't oppose the bill but we demand that women be strengthened socially, financially and academically," he said.
Bapat's party colleague from Pune, Madhuri Misal, suggested changing the electoral system so that women from all walks of life benefited. "Are we really going to get the financially weaker section [women] into our political system?"
Misal explained how the people who gave reservations and those who availed the quota were misusing the provision ever since it came into force. "Women from politically powerful families replace the men from their families. So, it is really the men who run the show behind the scenes."
Congress member Yashomati Thakur wondered why it took five decades to clear the 50% political quota for women. "The delay is sad but I hope we get such a quota in the legislature and parliament as well."
Thakur, who comes from a political family, demanded that victimisation of women be stopped in order to empower them fully. "Train us at government institutes in governance and related activities," she said.
BJP's Pankaja Munde Palve, who inherited the Assembly seat held by her father Gopinath Munde, spoke highly of women who had created history.
Male colleagues took turns to support the quota. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's Bala Nandgaonkar and Shiv Sena's Ravindra Waikar said their parties would support the bill for reservation for women in the state legislature.
Peasant and Workers Party member Minakshi Patil and independent Vivek Pandit asked for creating a separate training facility for aspiring women politicians.
BJP's Devendra Fadnavis appealed to the Congress to pass the women's reservation bill in the Lok Sabha. "The Rajya Sabha has passed the bill but certain anti-women parties are opposing it in the Lok Sabha."
Fadnavis urged the government to help transform women in a tool to add to the state's economy. "The women are already contributing hugely to our economy but they will add even more if we improve their skills."