In Panel To Study Bill To Raise Marriage Age, Just One Woman Member; MP Raises Concern

New Delhi: The Bill for raising the legal age of marriage of women from 18 to 21 years is under review, but ironically the committee that has been assigned the task of looking into it has only one woman member – West Bengal MP Sushmita Dev.

In a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, Maharashtra MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has revealed this, saying the committee of 31 MPs deliberating on a Bill of huge significance for women has only one woman member.

“I am writing this letter to you as a concerned Member of Parliament. In the Winter Session of the Parliament, a crucial Bill impacting the lives of women across the country was introduced — The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill. This Bill seeks to raise the legal age of marriage from 18 to 21 for women. After being introduced in the Lok Sabha it was sent to the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports. However, the committee has only one female Member of Parliament as a member,” Chaturvedi said in the letter.

“This is disheartening to note that a Bill so pertinent to women and the Indian society will be deliberated upon in a committee where the representation is highly skewed. Therefore, I request you to ensure that there should be more representation and participation of women in the discussion around Bill that concerns the issues faced by women in India. It is of utmost importance that the interests of all stakeholders are taken into account and that voices of all, especially women, are heard and understood by the committee,” Chaturvedi, who is also a Shiv Sena leader, said in the letter.

Sushmita Dev herself had raised the issue, saying she was surprised to find out that she was the only woman member in the committee.

The MPs to the parliamentary committee are nominated by political parties, who in turn have nominated the male members.

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