MPs demand passage of women's reservation bill
New Delhi: With the issue of safety and security of women taking precedence on International Women's Day, the demand for early passage of the women's reservation bill appeared to have taken a backseat in Lok Sabha Friday.
Only two parties, CPI(M) and DMK, made a strong plea for passage of the legislation to provide for 33 per cent quota to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies as issues of safety and security dominated an impromptu debate in the wake of the Delhi gang-rape incident.
Cutting across party lines, the MPs, mostly women, sought stringent laws to check violence against women in every form and earmarking time every session to discuss their problems.
In the two-hour-long debate, they wanted a strong message to be sent to the nation to end systemic oppression of women by changing the societal mindset.
Taking the lead, Speaker Meira Kumar said, "While the government is taking all possible measures to prevent violence against women, there is a need for a change in the mindset of men to remove this evil from our society.
"Let us on this day re-dedicate ourselves collectively to work steadfastly towards achieving an equal and humane environment for women."
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said women remained unsafe before and after birth -- falling victims to female foeticide and rape.
Maintaining that most women felt unsafe after dark in Delhi, she said this situation was also true for many parts of the country. "The Centre, the states and all our institutions must collectively take steps to make the environment safe and secure for women."
Intervening in the discussion, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said there was need to impress upon the male-dominated society that "'No Girl, No World' is a fact and therefore there was need to change the mindset."