Addressing the 2nd Eurasian Women’s Forum at St. Petersburg in Russia, Sonia Gandhi on Friday said, more than the law, it is important to change the mindset of people to bring a change. She advocated for an equal share for women at workplace and in public offices.
She also said that, “It is striking that as of last year, only two nations (Rwanda and Bolivia) have a representation of 50% or more women members in Parliament, in any House”. Women parliamentarians across the world account for less than 25%.
She said her party is committed to ensuring the passage of the bill that provides 33% reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies.
Across the world, women face inequality in the name of tradition. “One in three women is currently likely to be subjected to physical or sexual violence in her lifetime,” she added. It is about time that we see a change in the mindset of the people. This will be a greater challenge.
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“In the 70 years that have passed since we gained our Independence, women in India have fought against poverty, disease, discrimination, and patriarchy. Yet, they continue to be the casualties of paternalistic traditions that dominate many of our communities,” said Mrs Gandhi.
Calling attention of the women leaders Sonia Gandhi expressed that, “we must recognise that, as women who have been able to exercise political authority and privilege, we have a moral obligation and duty to ensure that we help give voice to women across the world, who have been kept silent so far.”
Sonia Gandhi hopes to see more progressive men joining the fight. “We will not be able to reverse this reality overnight. But it is my hope that in alliance with progressive male counterparts, we can help open up this space.”
UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises the integral role that women will play in the future of humanity. Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. “We all understand that these goals will only be attained if we ensure the full participation, and even leadership of women,” she said.
“We must also pay tribute to women elsewhere who were in the political frontline of earlier battles, to the powerful ideas unleashed by women’s movements that have changed society’s outlook across the world,” she added.
An inclusive involvement of all sections of society is a requisite for advancing and securing the lives of women in all parts of the world.