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'Women yet to break through the glass ceiling'

Maharashtra,Human Interest/Society, Mon, 23 Apr 2012 IANS

Mumbai, April 23 (IANS) Recognising the significant progress made by women in over six decades of independence, panelists at a seminar here, however, lamented that barring a sector or two, they are yet to break through the glass ceiling.


Panellists observed that except for a few women in decision making positions, or women who are at leading positions on the political front, it is still male-dominated society that we are living in.


"Crime against women is still significantly high. It is quite disturbing to note that every three minutes or so there is a crime committed against women in India. This excludes majority of cases of domestic violence," said Chairman of Reliance Entertainment Amit Khanna.


Khanna, who is also the Chairperson of Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII), National Committee on Media & Entertainment, was speaking at a session in the seminar on 'The New Indian Woman'.


Observing that Politics is the key to social transformation in India, Dean of School of Social Sciences at Jawarhal Nehru University Zoya Hasan said that women surely have progressed in marking their presence in most sectors but are "yet to break the glass ceiling".


"However, not many of them are seen on decision making positions. In a country that has a woman president and leaders of several political parties are women, they are simply not well represented in most other sectors. This needs to change," Hasan said.


Giving statistics on women in education Hasan pointed out that in 1950, there were only 12 percent women students in colleges and universities. Today there are 40 percent women here.


"While the Parliament has only 12 percent representation from women even today," she pointed out.


Conceding over the fact, Member of Parliament from Odisha Jay Panda said: "We (Parliament) are four decades behind academia in representation from women."


However, later, a lively discussion between actress and social activist Shabana Azmi and journalist Barkha Dutt reiterated that their view of the world is informed first by their identity as women.


After, Azmi said that she was surrounded by feminists including her father, father-in-law and husband, and when asked if he was a feminist, Javed Akhtar said: "Society should be just and fair and people should get equal respect without regard for their caste, gender or religion. If that makes a feminist then I guess I am one."


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