Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament and actor Hema Malini on Tuesday addressed the Lok Sabha on the occasion of International Women’s Day. In her speech, the 67-year-old said that women are natural homemakers, who take a family forward by having children. Her comments stood in contrast to speeches by other MPs, who took up women’s issues and brought up the Women’s Reservation Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010. The bill proposes 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi was among those who pushed for the bill, and asked that it be passed soon. In response, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the government was trying to reach a consensus on the controversial bill. The Congress’ Ranjit Ranjan, who drew attention by riding her Harley Davidson motorbike to Parliament, said there needed to be a larger effort towards empowering women besides just reservation.
Shiv Sena MP Bhavna Gawali brought up the controversy over women not being allowed to enter some temples in the country. She said, “While we talk of equality, we cannot go into temples”. Some of the other issues that were raised included financial inclusiveness, education and trafficking of women in the country, reported PTI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week had proposed that only women MPs should speak in Parliament on Women’s Day.