Will achieve gender equality when men brew tea for their working wives: NCW chief


Once husbands start brewing tea for their working wives after they return home from work, only then we would be able to witness equality of sexes in the society, Rekha Sharma, Chairperson, National Commission for Women (NCW), said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the National Women’s Parliament held near Panaji, Sharma also said that 30 per cent reservation for women in state Assemblies and Parliament is not enough because women account for 50 per cent of the population.

“It is relatively easy for men. When they leave home they know that when they return, there will be food and a warm cup of tea ready. But when women leave their home and children for work, they know that they will still have to work on return,” Sharma said.

“When we speak of changes in the scenario of women today, men too have to change their mindsets and prepare to offer a cup of tea to their wives when they return from work. Only then we will be moving towards a complete change,” Sharma said.

The NCW chairperson also lamented the fact that there are very few women MLAs in Goa — out of 40 MLAs in the state, only two are women — and added that 30 per cent reservation for women in state Assemblies and the Parliament is just not enough.

“In most states, there are 50 per cent women in panchayat bodies, most states also have 50 per cent reservation (for women). But there is no reservation in Assemblies yet. You have to raise the issue and your voice so that the Centre can hear it,” Sharma said.

“If reservation is ensured across Assemblies and Parliament, it should be 50 per cent, not 30 per cent. Women form 50 per cent of the population, and we should not be satisfied at 30 per cent. If there is resevration, women could enter the Assemblies and the Parliament,” she said, adding that presently women’s representation in the Parliament is just 14.6 per cent.

She said that while men find it easy to get mentors, for women the same is difficult because “women themselves are hesitant to support each other”.

Sharma also said that in the early days of reservation for women in local grassroot bodies like village panchayats, there would be scorn heaped on elected women representatives about their husbands’ intererence in official chores. The scenario has changed since, she said.

“I can say that in the early days (of reservation), husbands used to interfere a lot. But when women won for a second, third or fourth time, they realised their role in the gram panchayats and started managing their responsibilities well. Now their husbands are managing the homes while the women are running the panchayats. This is how it should happen,” she said.