As the world gears up to celebrate International Women's Day on Thursday, women activists on Wednesday demanded greater political representation, with a special emphasis on the passage of the bill that promises 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament.
Emphasising the importance of Women's Day in the Indian context, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said, "we need to celebrate the fact that in spite of adverse and hostile conditions, women here are breaking barriers and making it on their own."
"This is an occasion to put pressure on the government to pass long-pending legislations that would be benefit women, like the Women's Reservation Bill," Karat said.
Sudha Sundararaman, All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) General Secretary, wondered if panchayats can have 50 per cent reservation for women, then why cannot Parliament have 33 per cent.
"The government should stop paying lip service, and actually put words into action," she said.
Beside the 33 per cent reservation, the government should also implement existing laws and draft better laws for prevention of violence against women, the AIDWA General Secretary said.
"The Bhanwari Devi case in Rajasthan and happenings in the Karnataka Assembly show how commodification of women has made them vulnerable. Stricter implementation of existing laws and better laws need to be drafted by the government to tackle this," Sundararaman said.
Several important bills like the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, amendment to Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and Child Sexual Abuse bill have been introduced as early as 1997, but have still not been passed, she said.