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Financial independence and 33% women reservation dominate National Parliament for Women on IWD 2022

Nagaland News

KOHIMA, MARCH 8: For better or for worse, every crucial issue in Nagaland has been steered by a general consensus of the CSOs through consultative meetings. With the State all set to discuss the controversial 33% women reservation in Urban Local Bodies on March 9, Naga women leaders say assimilation of the women-folk in the highest decision-making body is the only way to bridge gender inequality in Nagaland.
“The concept of women empowerment has been widely discussed in the state for some time now but until and unless we are made a part of the decision-making body, we are just half-empowered,” stated the Social Entrepreneur, Founder & Chair of YouthNet, Hekani Jakhalu Kense.
Kense, one of the panellists along with 5 other Naga female icons in varied fields said this at the National Parliament for Women powered by the Nagaland State Commission for Women on the theme “Celebrating Women Extraordinaire,” at Japfu College, Kigwema Village on International Women’s Day (IWD).
While the assimilation of the women-folks into the highest decision-making body remains to be seen, the bottom line is women have to be financially independent, she said.
Women just like their counterparts can do anything if they are financially independent, she said, adding, “The reason I am emphasizing on wealth and finances is that it plays a crucial role as far as the Nagaland political scenario is concerned”.
Maintaining that she had been at the forefront of Clean Election Campaign for more than a decade, she said that “the ground reality of elections in Nagaland is that one cannot win election if one does not have money.”
Elections in Nagaland are also steered by a patriarchal mindset but at the end of everything, any political endeavours in Nagaland come down to wealth.
Queried about her opinion on the upcoming consultative meeting on 33% reservation and her expectation from the meet, Kense said, “I feel that Naga women should have 33% reservation… I’ve heard many women say that we don’t need reservation because we are equal like men but it is not.”
“And as long as we are not in the highest decision-making body we are not empowered as yet,” she added.
Rekha Rose Dukru, an entrepreneur from Zhavame Village who recently made the headlines in local dailies for being the first women from Chakhesang community to be inducted into the Chakhesang Public Organisation (CPO) as a member of the executive council also voiced on the need for a women representative at the highest decision-making body.
Dukru, who was among the 5 women candidates from Nagaland in the State General Elections from 17th Assembly Constituency, also shared her experiences that left her in utter disbelief on how the male-counterparts think and behave when it comes to having a woman as a leader.
She said that the Naga society has reached a point in history where the need to have a women representative in order to make women’s voices heard so that the imbalances in our society is addressed.
Addressing the 33% reservation question, she said, “I am also hundred percent for 33% reservation.”
“I am sure that a lot of organizations will come with certain conditions and the conditions we can expect from the CSOs will be nomination with voting rights, but it has to be an election,” she said.
Apila Sangtam, Legal Consultant, Social Welfare Department & NSCW said, “We should not be misguided by saying that implementing the 33% reservation infringes Article 371A. There are a lot of talks about nominating no voting rights even though the women-folks are nominated or elected but I have always been of the view and will always take the stance that “We are second to none.”
“This issue of 33% reservation for women in ULB elections should not be about men versus women but we need to have this election and not nomination,” she added.
Principal, Japfü Christian College & President, Nagaland College Principals Forum (NCPA), Visakhonii Hibo said that while the literacy rate of females is higher than their counterparts, quality education is important in order for a woman to really understand her place and assert her position in society.
The high literacy rate is also important to boost the morale of women but it is quality education that matters at the end of the day. When it comes to women coming out confidently and doing things on their own will, it is quality education that will empower women to think and act on their own accord with confidence, she said.
L Dorothy Chang, a recipient of the NSCW Award 2022 also said that Naga women have every right to fight for the 33% reservation. “We are longer inferior to anyone. I hope that even from the male side they should help the ones (women) who are struggling to be represented in the highest decision-making body,” she said.
“If there are any able candidates from the women’s side, I believe that everyone should say yes to that. Gender should not come in between because everyone is equal. Regardless of gender, if one is capable of leading and being the voice of the people we should go ahead with the implementation,” she further said.
(Page News Service)