As several women members of Parliament spoke in Rajya Sabha on the occasion of International Women’s Day on Monday, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Sonal Mansingh called for a similar day to celebrate men. “I demand that International Men’s Day should also be celebrated,” Mansingh, a noted classical dancer and a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, said on the floor of the Upper House.
As her demand evoked laughter among the members of the house, she said people anyway talk about equality. Notably, International Men’s Day is celebrated on November 19 around the world.
Mansingh also used an anonymous quote in her speech as she began talking about International Women’s Day. “I want to read this quote that I read somewhere… It’s hard to be a woman. You must think like a man, act like a lady, look like a young girl, and work like a horse,” she said.
Talking more about the inequality that prevails in the society, Mansingh quoted from her own work ‘Stree’, saying, “Aage se adhikh hu par adhikar se vanchit hu (Women have more than before but still lack enough rights).”
During the discussion, other women members of Parliament also highlighted the lack of women’s representation in government and pushed for the pending bill seeking 33% reservation for women. The women’s reservation bill was introduced in Parliament on September 12, 1996, by the United Front government of HD Dewe Gowda. The bill, whose aim is to increase participation of women in governance, was introduced in the Upper and Lower Houses and is still pending in Lok Sabha, despite its re-introduction.
Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi, who spoke after Mansingh, said reservation for women in Parliament must be raised from 33 per cent to 50 per cent. “Twenty-four years ago, we proposed a 33% reservation for women in Parliament. Today, 24 years later, we should raise this to 50% reservation for women in Parliament and assembly,” Chaturvedi said.
Nationalist Congress Party’s Fouzia Khan said, “Many audits have shown that not more than 6% of women have got leadership roles. We must think about it. We can make a beginning by bringing the legislation on 33 per cent reservation of women in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.”