Mumbai: Indian politicians should help pass legislation for giving reservation to women in state and national legislature, Sharad Pawar said on Saturday, adding that the country still had a long way to go to attain gender equality. He also questioned why no woman bureaucrat had been made the chief secretary of Maharashtra.
"In many states, women have become chief secretaries. But that chance has been denied to top women bureaucrats in Maharashtra, despite having capability. All of us, including myself, are responsible for this," he said. He was speaking at a seminar on women's empowerment in Mumbai.
"Maharashtra will be called a developed state only if we look at our failures in the last 25 years and make amends to bring about women's policy," he said.
He said that the women who enter the social and political realm have become much bolder, but their political aspirations are thwarted due to lack of opportunities.
"We gave reservation to women at the local self-government level. But what after that? After serving at the local level, their political aspirations increase. But we haven't yet been able to pass the bill giving them reservation in Assembly and in Lok Sabha. It can start with 30-33%. But we must build pressure on male politicians to pass the bill," he said.
He said it was a misconception that women can't handle difficult assignments.
Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said that the apprehensions raised during the first women's policy passed 25 years ago, have proven to be baseless. "The common thread then was - personal is political, women should have right over their own bodies, women should get the right to participate in the decision-making processes around them. Today, after five women's policies, the goals are different. UN has said that by 2030, 50% of leadership roles across the world will be held by women. The question is how we make it happen," she said.
Different speakers including Supriya Sule, Fauziya Khan, Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar, Vandana Chavan, talked about the challenges faced by the women's movement at present.