President Pranab Mukhrjee today said that the consistent increase in representation of women in the local bodies bodes well for further empowerment of women in Indian society.
Addressing women legislators in New Delhi today, he said that the Constitution of India provides for equal rights for men and women. It has also been enshrined in the Constitution that there shall be no discrimination, between men and women, in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
Mukherjee said that underlining the need for upliftment and empowerment of women the Constitution of India was amended in 1993. The Seventy Third Amendment to the Constitution inserted new Articles from 243A to 243O. The amendments provided that not less than one third of total number of seats in a panchayat or municipalities shall be reserved for women.
“The amendment also provided at least one-third Chairpersons of the Panchayats or municipalities shall be reserved for women. With the implementation of affirmative action through the reservation of 33 percent of the Panchayati Raj Institutions seats for women, there is a sharp rise in women’s representation,” he added.
“In fact, today women constitute more than 40 percent of the elected representatives in Panchayats. In some States, the representation of women in Panchayats is more than 50 percent. The consistent increase in representation of women in the local bodies bodes well for further empowerment of women in Indian society,” the President said. He questioned as to how women can be empowered without representation.
The President complimented the Prime Minister for the initiative ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ and his firm commitment towards the true empowerment of women. He said that the United Nations has declared the theme of International Women’s Day of 2016 as – “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality”. The observance of International Women’s Day on 8th March will reflect the collective will of the nations to accelerate 2030 agenda. The global community has to rededicate themselves to gender equality and women empowerment.
Mukherjee said that the organization of the ‘National Conference of Women Legislators’ is a step in the right direction to carry forward the agenda of United Nations of sustainable development through gender equality.