Women MPs demand financial inclusion, education in LS

From riding a motorbike to the Parliament House and demanding introduction of the Women's Reservation Bill to allowing women's entry to temples for worship, women members in Lok Sabha on Tuesday said financial inclusiveness and education are key to empower their lot.

But at the same time, some women MPs also said that passage of the Women's Bill was not the only solution, but a part of the bigger scheme of things required to uplift the stature of women in the country.

Belting out statistics, some members said there was a need to raise their strength in Parliamentary Standing Committees.

Shatabdi Roy (TMC) said while today is International Women's Day, nothing has changed the woman who works as a house maid or the one who begs on traffic signals with her child in her arms.

She said education was the key to ensure women earn as much as men and get their status in the society. "We don't want a separate seat in the bus, we want to drive that bus. We don't want separate queues...There should be no tax exemption. I want to earn Rs 5 crore and pay my full tax," she said.

Roy said the slogan of 'beti bachao' highlights woman as an asset who can earn for the family. "By doing this, she has been turned into a product," she said, adding she would observe March 8 as Women's Day if March 9 is observed as Men's Day.

Pratushya Singh (BJD) highlighted the plight of women and girls being trafficked.

Hema Malini (BJP) said women excelled in multi-tasking and know the art of balancing between home and work. "They work a lot. They are my inspiration," she said referring to women living in Mumbai who travel to work and handle household activities also.

Bhavna Gawali (Shiv Sena) referred to the refusal of temple authorities at Shani temple in Maharashtra from allowing women to enter the sanctum sanctorum andd said "while we talk of equality, we can't go to temples."

She said women at grassroots level have been provided reservation in local bodies, but the real show is being run by their husbands and fathers.

Questioning such a practice, she said if women are provided 33 per cent reservation in higher education, they would get empowered.

On the Women's Bill, she said nothing has happened on the issue and recalled the stand by late Bal Thackerey that parties should decide on reserving seats for women.

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