UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
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