`Women MPs have additional responsibilities'
There are lots of things to celebrate in the 50 years of Indian Parliament. As a woman Parliamentarian, I am proud of the fact that today, women MPs constitute 8 per cent of the total members. I am also elated that from the days of Sati to now, women have traversed a long way, says Renuka Chaudhuryindia Updated: Sep 04, 2002 18:41 IST
There are lots of things to celebrate in the 50 years of Indian Parliament. As a woman Parliamentarian, I am proud of the fact that today, women MPs constitute 8 per cent of the total members. I am also elated that from the days of Sati to now, women have traversed a long way, both within the House and without.
As a woman MP, there are many additional responsibilities I have to handle in my constituency…and with a smiling face. Marriage problems, divorces, settlements, harassment issues, postings and transfers, health and childcare problems, tribal issues and so on.
Things which I am nurturing in my constituency right now are micro-farming, whereby women creditors can set up small independent units and become self-sufficient, SSI or khadi schemes for villagers, land rights for women in farmer’s families and so on.
I sometimes feel that I am able to handle these issues better since I was a corporator first and a parliamentarian later. Perhaps when you handle real life situations as an administrator that you can deal with these issues wisely and ably.
I have respect for women like Mayavati and Mamata because they have risen from the grassroots and they don’t belong to the glamour brigade. But like all women in Parliament, they have had to work harder to get their voice heard in the House.
There is however one thing I would like to point out, I have received tremendous cooperation from male colleagues in the House: I have learnt a lot from illustrious Parliamentarians like Jaswant Singh, L K Advani, Somnath Chatterjee, Indrajit Gupta, Geeta Mukherjee and so on.
I remember Singh dragging me to the notice office in my early days so that I could file my notices and then he would sit with me on the speeches. I am also completely comfortable working with Sonia Gandhi within the House and outside it.
On women’s reservation:
Reservation is not the correct word. It is like an entry point, members get 3 Lok Sabha terms by rotation. I can tell you that no male MP likes it…they think their male bastion will be affected.
Message to women who want to enter politics:
The best qualification is your commitment to politics, and anybody whose heart beats for India is eligible.
(as told to Nandini Guha)