Meira Kumar bats for greater representation for women

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar called for "concerted efforts" to guarantee women`s say in decision-making and governance.

Colombo: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Wednesday called for "concerted efforts" to guarantee women`s say in decision-making and governance, and said it should be incumbent on political parties to ensure at least 30 per cent representation for them in parliaments.

Speaking on the topic "Engaging Political Parties to Improve Gender-responsive Governance" at the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference here, Kumar said that gender equality and women`s empowerment are not only human rights issues but are also pre-requisites for achieving inclusive and sustainable growth.

She said that engaging political parties in governance that is gender sensitive and responsive, is an issue that deserves close attention and Parliamentarians have to take the lead in championing it.

"No society can ever develop without equal participation of women," the Speaker said and asked Parliamentarians to engage with political parties for comprehensive legislations regulating the conditions for the constitution of a political party and for its recognition, registration and de-registration for this cause.

"It should be incumbent upon political parties to provide for at least 30 per cent representation for women in its organisational positions and at the time of distribution of tickets for elections," she said.
A closer look at reality reveals that women still face discrimination in the form of patriarchal attitudes, iniquitous and unfair religious and cultural practices, the first woman Speaker of India`s Lower House said.

The conference was inaugurated by President Mahinda Rajpaksa yesterday.

Kumar is leading a Parliamentary delegation to this Conference. There are five members of Parliament and delegates from State Legislatures.