17 Mar 2018 16:38 IST

‘Women should have more say in governance’

(From left ) Heena Vijaykumar Gavit, MP; Meera Shankar, Former Ambassador of India to US and Germany; and Kavitha D Chitturi, President, MMA at the inaugural session of the MMA Women Managers Convention 2018 | Bijoy Ghosh

At the MMA women managers convention, Meera Shankar said empowerment is key to women safety

Women should play an active role in the governance of the country and have a say in laws enacted for society, where women constitute half the population, said Meera Shankar, Former Ambassador of India to the US and Germany.

Addressing the Women Managers Convention 2018 on the theme ‘Mindsets Matter’, organised by the Madras Management Association in Chennai today, Shankar, who is also a Non-Executive Member of ITC Ltd, said representation of women is only 11 per cent in Parliament and even less in State Assemblies. This is far lower when compared to the West and even other South East Asian countries. “It is high time women are given equal opportunity in the governance of the country,” she added.

According to her, this is critical, as women's empowerment is directly linked to women's safety. “Right now, the country is in the throes of transition,” Shankar said.

Feats achieved by women today — such as flying fighter jets, winning Olympic medals and heading corporate enterprises — would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

And while our constitution and laws are forward looking, they do not automatically translate to social change, she added, explaining that polity and society need to change their mindsets too.

And as more women are empowered, the mindset will change and only then will it result in real transformation and eventually, safety of women.

Heena Vijaykumar Gavit, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, agreed that societal attitudes, customs and patriarchy kept women from exploring and reaching their full potential in all spheres, and more so in politics.

“But we also have great examples of women who had broken the glass ceiling and were successful women leaders like Indira Gandhi,” she added. Women, she said, should be brave and push the doors open.