New Delhi, March 30
Asserting that women should be provided reservation in Parliament and state assemblies as a means to empower them, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday called for equal property rights for all children irrespective of their gender.
He said while the issue of reservation for women in legislatures has been under discussion, “it is somehow not moving” as per expectation.
Women’s empowerment, he said, would have a multiplier effect not only on their own lives but also on the family and society at large.
He stressed that for inclusive growth, special attention needs to be given to women, youth and rural India.
Addressing the FICCI Ladies Organisation’s 38th Annual Session, he urged the corporate sector and various NGOs to supplement the efforts of the government in educating girls. “There should be no discrimination against girls and every girl child should be made to attend school,” the vice president said.
India’s cultural moorings, Naidu said, have gender equality as a core principle.
During the early Vedic period women were seen as equal to men in all walks of life, he observed.
“Our history also recorded many achievements of extraordinary women in different fields. Unfortunately, some undesirable trends such as gender discrimination have crept in the modern times. This has resulted in low literacy, low education and consequently, low representation in the workforce and politics,” he said.
Naidu felt that there is an urgent need to remove gender disparity in various spheres. Everybody from the government to the private sector and civil society must join hands in empowering women, he said.
Referring to the benefits of women’s education, he said they include decreased fertility rates, lower infant mortality rates and maternal mortality rates.
“Education will empower women to become better decision-makers”, he pointed out.
The vice president also emphasised on the importance of ensuring children’s physical fitness and providing them with properly cooked traditional Indian food.
“There is also a need to encourage more women to become entrepreneurs as I believe only 14 per cent of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs in India are women. This needs to change and I would like to take this opportunity to commend FLO for its exceptional efforts in that direction,” he said.
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