Women`s reservation can be potential game changer: UN official

Last Updated: Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 15:43

New Delhi: Thirty-three per cent reservation to women in Parliament has the potential to be a "game changer" as not only will such a step change patriarchal mindsets but also boost pro-women legislation, feels senior UN official Lakshmi Puri.

"The perception of the girl child will change. When you have empowered women out there in Parliament, and in such great numbers, you are representative of the people more and more. You change that whole mindset about women being a burden... The way Union minister Smriti Irani said that such comments were made when she was born," the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women said .

More women in Parliament will help change that "patriarchal mindset", she said, adding that the experience in several other countries which have reservation for women has been very positive.
Speaking to PTI here, Puri, who is also Assistant Secretary General with the UN, said that if there are 33 per cent women in Parliament, they will move aggressively across party lines to advance the interests and needs of women.

"It`s not only symbolic but effectively it has the potential to really change the game. It can be a game changer for gender responsive legislation and a change in prioritisation of women and girls issues, in the planning and budgeting process," she said.

Puri, who is a former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, however, added 33 per cent is just the critical mass and the real objective should be parity.

Speaking further, she emphasised that there is a need to push towards making the whole system more gender responsive and gender sensitive and all public institutions and not just the Parliament.

She hoped that the Women`s Reservation Bill is passed. The BJP, which is the leading party in the ruling NDA, had in its pre-election manifesto said that it is committed to 33 per cent reservation in parliamentary and state assemblies.

PTI

First Published: Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 15:43

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