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'India is closing the gender gap'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Addis Ababa, April 18: The condition of women in India is going through a sea change in terms of fighting violence against them and closing the gender gap, said visiting Indian parliamentarian Tarun Vijay.

“Crimes against women is linked to sick minds and has nothing to do with poverty or wealth. Highest rate of rapes and other crimes against women occur in Britain, the US, Sweden and other developed countries. In India, we too are fighting it with determition,” the BJP MP, who is also a member of the World Bank Parliamentary Network.

Vijay said that his party is committed to 33 percent representation of women in parliament and state assemblies. “About 49 percent voters in India are women. Indian democracy survives because of women voters, who play a crucial role in deciding the country’s destiny,” he said. The bill, which proposes to reserve one-third of parliament and state assembly seats for women, is now being seen as an apt vehicle of electoral reforms, the parliamentarian added.

Elaborating on the government’s plan to empower women, he said the focus is on states like Manipur where women have a domint position in society and the economy. Vijay said that in India’s post-independence history, it is for the first time that there is the largest number of women representatives in parliament and the highest number of women cabinet ministers. He accused some jourlists of focussing only on crime against women and making such incidents into global news. “We are keeping India safest for women and elimiting the gender gap fully. India will be incomplete without its women.”

Despite recent progress, women are still a small minority in politics. Gender specific obstacles to participating in political life remain, as well as experience of disproportiote levels of threats, harassment and violence. The glass ceiling has not yet been shattered, but does have some cracks, according to ya Bathily, Head, Global Parliamentary Unit, World Bank. “Women are key contributors to the economy and society and good health is critical for the full participation of women. Still, women experience a gap in access to care and too many women die every year from easily prevented illness and from other violence related issues”, she said.

Today about 200 million people globally are unemployed and estimates indicate that 600 million new jobs will be needed worldwide in the next 25 years. Otherwise, large portions of our tiol populations will be left behind, unproductive, unhappy and posing an increasing fincial burden on social welfare programmes, she further states. “India is, however, yet to become a tion wherein women have proportiol representation in politics. However, the current movement and the government’s move on policy changes seem promising”.

In a recent study conducted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), India is placed at 111th position in the list of 189 countries having women representatives in Parliament. Even the lesser-developed neighbours of India such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have around 20, 19 and 30 percent women members in their respective parliaments. (IANS)

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