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 When 181 women get ’empowered’ to enter parliament society as a whole will benefit, Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed said here Monday.

‘All eyes are riveted towards India’s parliament now. The thing to be kept in mind is that by asking for 33 percent reservation, we are not asking for a favour because when 181 women will be in the parliament, the society as a whole will benefit,’ Hameed said at the release of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on gender equality in Asia-Pacific region.

‘I was telling Mohini Giri (founding chairperson of National Commission for Women), that after a struggle of 20 years, we are finally seeing this day,’ she added.

UNDP administrator Helen Clark, who released the report, said: ‘There is a big gap in women’s representation in higher political power in many places. In this context, I have been monitoring the developments in the media on the one-third reservation of women in the Indian parliament’.

Holding out huge newspaper cuttings on the subject of the women’s reservation bill, Clark said: ‘As suggested by the report, political reforms is very important. More women in politics wil ensure that women’s issues will get more importance and the society will benefit’.

According to the UNDP report ‘Power, Voice and Rights- A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific’, the region contains the second lowest percentage of women parliamentarians in the world.

‘The Pacific sub-region alone has four of the six countries in the world with no woman legislators. Only about one-third of Asia-Pacific countries have a gender quota in place for parliament,’ Clark said quoting the report.

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