On international women’s day, entrepreneurs gather for reality check of the position of women in India
Puja Bhattacharjee | March 8, 2016
Advocating for the women’s reservation bill, Alka Lamba, member of legislative assembly (MLA), Delhi from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said that prime minister Narendra Modi must give women an enabling environment to ensure their participation in politics. She was speaking at an event organised by Assocham women foundation on Tuesday, to mark international women’s day.
She said that despite being in the political arena for more than two decades, there have been numerous occasions when she felt like quitting politics. One such incident took place in November last year when Lamba was abused by BJP MLA OP Sharma.
“The mentality of some male colleagues towards women is so bad that I considered whether to stay [in politics] or move on,” she said. “But then I realised that there are thousands of women who look up to me and for their benefit it is my responsibility to make politics an even playing field for them,” she said. “If the recommendation ethics committee of the Delhi assembly is implemented, OP Sharma will lose his seat in the assembly. It will send a strong message to people who derogate women”, she added.
Suchi Mukherjee, founder of Limeroad.com, pointed out that women are hosting most of the discussions on women’s day. “We need to change this narrative. We need the men in our lives to join the conversation and tell us how they are going to contribute towards changing the challenges faced by us,” she said. “We need more male role models. We need the women to talk about the men in their lives,” she added.
She also pointed out that many talented women entrepreneurs are not able to flourish as the environment is not conducive to working women. “If they are not being held back by their families then they are harassed on the streets,” said Mukherjee.
Gender pay equity was another issue taken up at the event. In 2014, world economic forum (WEF) had said that women will attain equal economic participation levels and opportunities by 2095. However, in a revised study in 2015, WEF found that gender pay equity will take another 118 years i.e., by 2133.
“We have come a long way. But we still have a long way to go. We need to keep moving forward so that it doesn’t take another century for women to be at par with men,” said Lamba.
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