Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Women worldwide want more parliament seats
Globally only one in five lawmakers is female, meeting is toldParticipants at the speakers' conference in New Delhi.
- Swati Deb, New Delhi
- October 5, 2012
The two-day meeting of the worldâ€™s female parliamentary speakers, which wrapped up in New Delhi yesterday, focused on â€śGender Sensitive Parliaments.â€ť
The resulting â€śNew Delhi Declarationâ€ť adopted yesterday pledged to ensure â€śsupportive electoral laws and temporary special measuresâ€ť such as reservation initiatives taking place in India to encourage more participation of women in elected bodies.
India is proposing a 33 percent allocation for women in the national parliament and state legislatures. It has already introduced quotas on village councils.
This and the move towards quotas at national level was praised by the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, in her speech at the opening session.
She said village quotas had brought a sharp increase in local women leaders and that the â€śworld was awaitingâ€ť what will happen at national level.
â€śQuotas have spurred one of the greatest successes globally in womenâ€™s empowerment and grassroots democracy in India,â€ť Bachelet said.
The Women Reservation Bill for parliament and state legislatures was passed in 2010 by Indiaâ€™s Upper House but has yet to passÂ through the Lower House.
Globally, there is only one woman lawmaker for every four men according to the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), one of the chiefÂ organizers of the meeting.
â€śThere has been a sea change in the last 15 years both for India and across the globe. However, it is not up to theÂ mark,â€ť IPU secretary-general Anders B. Johnsson said.
Austrian Speaker Barbara Prammer stressed general awareness on the issue of encouraging women into politics and parliament.
â€śAt the end of the day, we must understand the basic issue is that, for every one more woman MP, we have one man less. There is aÂ challenge to reconcile to this.â€ť
Tanzaniaâ€™s Speaker Anne Makinda said the global economic slowdown had forced many governments to do away with social welfare measures, which has hampered women's greater participation in politics.
â€śHowever, it will not be proper to leave the political realm to men only,â€ť she underlined.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, who opened the meeting, said gender sensitive parliaments can address, more insightfully, social problems that women face such as violence, female feticide and human trafficking.
The annual meeting is organized so women speakers can exchange ideas and experiences on gender issues.
Currently, only 37 women preside over one of the houses of the worldâ€™s 190 parliaments.
Women must be part of decision process