Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

Naveen Patnaik bats for women's empowerment, gives example of Jacinda Ardern, Angela Merkel

ANI | Updated: Apr 04, 2019 23:36 IST

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Apr 4 (ANI): Batting for effective representation to women, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday said leaders like New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have shown that women should be brought into politics. 

Hailing Ardern and Merkel for their constantly lending support to refugees and migrants residing in their country, Patnaik said: "A nation that does not give effective representation to women in its highest decision-making forum is running on a single engine."

"If India has to hit the highway of growth and compete with the likes of US and China, it has to transform its political landscape by empowering women. This is the real double engine the country needs, to bring about growth with equity and justice," he said.
Patnaik said Ardern had stunned the whole world in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shootings aimed at refugees who were at their Friday Prayers by stating, “New Zealand is their home (referring to the Refugees and migrant killed). They are us.” Similarly, Angela Markel, the German Chancellor, was perhaps the only leader who welcomed Refugees from other countries – transcending nationality and showing compassion to fellow humans.

"If politics is the exercise of power, women have a more humane touch in its expression. If politics can decide a Nation’s values, is it prudent to have half our population not actively involved in decision making," he said.

Underlying the need of women empowerment, Patnaik remembered his father and former Chief Minister of Odisha Biju Patnaik and said: "He was one of the pioneers in womens’ empowerment, who introduced 33 per cent reservation for women in the PRIs, which was increased to 50 per cent by his government."

"While initially there was a lot of criticism with most people saying that husbands and fathers will actually run the show, today more than sixty thousand women in Odisha are doing remarkable jobs as Ward Members, Sarpanchs, Block Samiti, Zilla Parishad Members, and Presidents," said Naveen.
He further opined that if Odisha has had a huge improvement in the socio-economic indicators like infant mortality rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), the credit goes to the grass root women leaders and the 70 lakh strong Mission Shakti SHG movement of the state.
Odisha Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik further stressed that if India had adequate representation of women, our approach to a multitude of issues would have been different.
"Questions of war, peace, and terrorism would be differently decided. Our laws on rape, sexual assault and dowry will be more effectively implemented. Education and Health would be given much more focus. Empowering household incomes will be as much a priority as empowering corporate incomes," he said.

The Chief Minister said that one of the most satisfactory and cherishing moments for him as BJD supremo was when his party decided to provide 33 per cent reservation for women candidates to the Lok Sabha.

Asserting that  BJD has done its bit to break this silence, Patnaik alleged that "both the national parties in their Manifestos have repeatedly spoken about women's empowerment, but somewhere when it comes to walking the talk – there is a deafening silence".

He urged the people of Odisha to ensure that the voice of BJD's seven women candidates is heard in the hallowed halls of Parliament and hoped that the movement that has started from Odisha will be followed by all national parties. (ANI)

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