International Women’s Day and the Women’s Reservation Bill: Prof M S Swaminathan
Chennai, March 07, 2016: On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, it will be appropriate to remind ourselves of the significant contributions being made by women to our nation’s food and nutrition security. Over 60 % of all agricultural work is done by women. This is why I would renew on this occasion my plea for according women farmers certain legal rights such as right to land, credit, technology, irrigation and above all assured and remunerative marketing opportunities. The Women Farmers Entitlements Bill which I had introduced in Rajya Sabha as a Private Members Bill provides a framework for empowerment in the areas of crop and animal husbandry, fisheries and forestry. In particular a designated fund for support services including the development of gender sensitive technologies need to be provided. Prime Minister has rightly stressed the need for women- led development to ensure sustainability and inclusiveness. The time has come for Lok Sabha to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, when I had the privilege of being a member. Now that Prime Minister has absolute majority in Lok Sabha and since the bill has nearly all party support, there is no reason why women’s political empowerment in our democratic institutions should be delayed any further.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.