New Delhi: Members of the Rajya Sabha on Friday unanimously called for the passing of the Women`s Reservation Bill to ensure 33 percent seats in parliament and the state assemblies for women. The Rajya Sabha passed the bill March 9, 2010 and it is pending in the Lok Sabha.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari dispensed with the Question Hour and allowed members to make brief statements on the occasion of International Women`s Day.
"Today, women have made remarkable progress in economic, political and social spheres, but gender equality remains a distant dream. On this occasion, let us rededicate ourselves collectively towards the cherished goal of women`s empowerment," he said.
Samajwadi Party member Jaya Bachchan said a true International Women`s Day celebration would be when women feel safe and secure in the country.
"The true celebrations would be if we were able to change the mindset of people and ensure security and safety of women. What is the use of such celebrations, we deliver lofty speeches here and next day read about rape and torture of women," said Jaya Bachchan.
Rajni Patel of the Congress said parliament should pass the women`s reservation bill as early as possible.
"Women Reservation Bill has been pending in parliament and it should be passed so that women get equal representation and have a say in all laws made in the country," she said.
Congress member Ambika Soni said reservation for women in parliament and state assemblies is necessary, and appealed for its early passage.
Listing out increase in crime against women in the last one decade, Gundu Sudha Rani, of Telugu Desham Party (TDP), said: "There has been a 70 percent increase in crime against women since 2002. Unless there is change in the mindset of men, nothing can happen. Women reservation bill should be passed immediately to give power to women."
Najma Heptullah of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said crime against women can be contained if there is change in the mindset of people.
"There are several incidents (crimes against women) we don`t even hear of, sitting here in Delhi. Crime against women can be contained by change in the mindset of people, and not by making changes in laws," she said.