Lok Sabha TV- Public Forum: National Women Parliamentarian Conference
India’s first National Women’s Parliamentarian Conference was recently held at Amravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. The three-day conference which was the first of its kind was organized by Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. The theme of the Conference was “Empowering Women-Strengthening Democracy”. The vision of this Parliament is to provide a politically neutral platform to women belonging to diverse backgrounds to share their knowledge and research in the area of social, economic and political empowerment of women.
The prime objective of NWP is to eradicate discriminations against women, to create equal opportunities to them and connect around 10,000 higher secondary school girls with eminent women personalities of India and overseas. It is to make young girls realize their potential and to enable them to take leadership roles in all sectors of life while sensitizing the society about issues like malnutrition among women and children, sexual harassment and sanitation among others. The National Women’s Parliament will declare Amravati Declaration for women empowerment in the country which will become a benchmark for all the states which have to implement those guidelines for women empowerment.
India is one of the most successful democracies in the world over the last few decades. However, there exists a large gap between the delivery and expectation level to which women should have reached in terms of representation in diverse fields. Women still do not have power to exercise their choice in life due to the patriarchal dominance in the society. NWP is a welcome step because it tries to address issues related to women through face to face discussions. For example- recently there was a violent uprising in Nagaland where the tribal councils dominated by males opposed 33% reservation of females in urban local bodies. If Amravati Declaration is adopted by states in future, women might be able to assert their rights to some extent.
- A structured and vibrant network of women representatives and aspiring girl student leaders across the nation.
- Increased access of girl students to women leaders who have made their mark in various walks of life.
- Generation of new ideas, concepts, theories and ideologies pertaining to women empowerment.
- Helping to ignite and strengthening the sense of social responsibility among women of India.
- Documentation of the views of experts and experienced speakers on women empowerment which can be used for policy making process.
As far as South Asian nations are concerned, India had visionary leaders who provided voting rights to women at a time when most of the countries of the world were unable to do so. India has examples of women who have reached to the top position in different fields. Sri Lanka had a female President. A favorable society and favorable political circumstances are important to a certain extent in order to make these steps being taken for women successful. The financial committees or defence services in India have negligible women participation. A representation in Parliament does not assure that the glass ceiling will be broken. Women also have an onus upon themselves to exploit the opportunities they get at higher positions.