She was addressing a seminar organized by Pakistan Study Centre on “Role of Women in Indian Politics” at its Auditorium on Tuesday.
Dean Faculty of Arts and Humanities Prof Dr Massarat Abid, former Chairman Department of History Prof Ali Abbas, Assistant Professor Department of Social Work Ms Sonia Omer, faculty members and a large number of students were present on the occasion.
Tracing the history of the struggle for independence era, Prof. Mehta said that although women played a prominent role in the freedom movement but very few took part in politics after country’s independence. She said in the beginning only the upper class women participated in politics and it was only after almost sixty years that first women speaker was elected but the situation has improved now.
She said that in the present parliament out of 543 seats, women have 62 seats, which constitute 11% of the total representation.
Dr. Mehta said that the real empowerment of women came when one-third seats were reserved for women in local bodies under the 73rd amendment in the Indian constitution.
“At the grassroots level, the women have brought in new perspectives, increased harmony, better priorities in development, lesser corruption, while ensuring amicable resolution of disputes,” she said.
Welcoming the guest speaker at the Punjab University, Prof. Dr. Massarrat Abid said that India and Pakistan were the two most important countries of South Asia and these two neighbors were facing similar challenges.
She was of the view that from exchanges of views at academic level, these countries can learn from each others’ experiences which will be beneficial for the development of both poverty ridden countries.
A lively question-answer session followed the seminar.