A Superb Edition
Congratulations to DNA for the superb Women’s Day special edition put together by your women journalists, of whom you have a talented galaxy. It is really special, flowing with vim, vigour and vitality, in line with the UN’s theme for International Women’s Day: ‘A promise is A Promise: Let’s End Violence Against Women’. The government which is in its ‘slog overs’ will do well to take a note of this and strive to do just that, through a powerful legislation, putting an end to regrettable squabbling over semantics. There cannot be a better tribute to the Delhi girl.
—V Subramanyan, Thane
Thank you DNA. It’s A collector’s edition
Kudos to DNA for dedicating the edition of March 8, 2013 to women. It was full of inspiring stories of women from different strata of society, and their struggle to tide over crisis proves that women are the ultimate in endurance. People usually forget that it is the woman of the house who sacrifices her career, her hobbies, her happiness, her wishes and everything for the sake of her family and to make them happy. It is a thankless job, but it is satisfying when she sees her husband and children in good health and doing well. I will certainly keep the copy of today’s edition of the paper to derive inspiration when I feel low.
—Vanita Shenoy, Mumbai
Give women more say in decision-making
International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8, but one doesn’t see much of an attitudinal change towards women. Women constitute half of our population, yet have only a small representation in the law-making process. Many political parties lobby for reservations on the basis of religion and caste (which is part of their vote-bank politics), but they oppose reservation for women. Some Islamic countries, including Pakistan, and a fledgling democracy like Nepal have adopted reservation for women in the legislature.
Till the reservation bill becomes law, the election commission’s formula, making it compulsory for every political party to give at least 33 per cent of election tickets to women, must be strictly enforced. To prevent male politicians from making their wives or relations/associates proxy candidates, such candidates should not be permitted to use the name of the husband or any relation in the election campaign. At a time when the women’s quota in panchayats and local bodies is being increased from 33 per cent to 50 per cent, it is meaningless to resist 33 per cent reservation for women in the legislature. Rather, we should have a uniform 33 per cent reservation for women at all levels, from civic bodies to Parliament.
—Madhu Agrawal, New Delhi
More toilets, not banks
The brutal gang-rape of the 23-year-old para medical student in a moving bus in Delhi and her subsequent death which sparked off national outrage, and the fact that everyday women are raped and murdered, does not call for celebrations on International Women’s Day. A couple of days ago, some Punjab policemen were caught on camera beating up a woman who complained to them about sexual harassment.
While the women’s reservation bill has been put in cold storage, the government has announced the setting up of a women’s bank, most likely aimed at capturing woman votes. What is the point in setting up a bank for women when they don’t have the capacity to repay the loans? As someone has said, women need more toilets, rather than banks! Even in our police stations there are no separate rest/changing rooms for women police. In the Azad Maidan riot in August, women constables were molested, but none of the culprits have been convicted.
If this is the situation of women police, one can only imagine the case of the average Indian woman. The government must generate more opportunities for women in employment, with congenial working conditions and facilities like creches and day-care centres for the children. Also, the government has sanctioned six months maternity leave, but many institutions and private enterprises have not implemented this benefit. Unless these issues are resolved, celebrating women’s day will be mere tokenism.
More homemakers in the people’s House
Women worldwide have climbed to the top in all fields – be it banking, finance, industry, business, and even in the bureaucracy – but Parliament has been a hard nut to crack. A large number of men do not want to empower women. Hence the Women’s Reservation Bill is in cold storage. Instead of 33.33 per cent reservation of seats for women, 33.33 per cent of the candidates put up by every party should be women, who could contest even in general constituencies.
It would not surprise me if women win more seats. This is what quite a few men are afraid of. Parliament and legislative assemblies are called the house of people representatives. Just like women run the home, I believe they will make better lawmakers too, they would be less corrupt than men and should be able to even rein in the male bureaucrats.
—Sharad Kumar, by email
Parking meters better than selling space
Apropos of “BMC ready to sell streets, for your cars”, this is nothing but another avenue of corruption and for high-handedness. I have to agree with the comment in “Parking perils” that the system will benefit the rich most and the general public will be deprived of the fair use of public space. I suggest that parking meters be installed on the streets, with per hour slots and a maximum of three or four hours depending on the extent of the congestion.
This would be a better revenue-earning proposition than selling street space for parking and will curb the parking mafia across the city. The use of parking meters would also generate jobs for supervisors managing these spaces. The service should be managed by the area councils or the civic body. This system operates in several cities in the world and has helped to reduce congestion and streamline parking.
—Ashok Kumar, by email
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