My dream to see 50 per cent women in Cabinet: Kamal Haasan

Addressing a gatheringin Chennai, Haasan expressed his concern over the low representation of women in the Tamil Nadu Cabinet. He said that women voters alone can change the fate of Tamil Nadu as they are more in number.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan said it’s his dream to see women have equal representation in the Cabinet and it will be realised if his party Makkal Needhi Maiam gets elected in the upcoming assembly election.

Haasan, who is in the second phase of his election campaign, has been visiting several districts across the state. On Wednesday, he took part in an event ‘Maiam Maadhar Sangam’ organised by the party’s women’s wing in Chennai.

Addressing the gathering, Haasan expressed his concern over the low representation of women in the Tamil Nadu Cabinet. He said that women voters alone can change the fate of Tamil Nadu as they are more in number. “In 234 constituencies, there are only 20 women MLAs. In the cabinet, out of 30, there are only four women ministers. All the women should protest against this gender bias irrespective of party. The women cadres of MNM should fight even stronger because you have the full support of the party high command,” Haasan said.

He added that whenever women think of politics, they think about dhoti with party colours, alcohol, biriyani, and abusive speeches. MNM is the first party to break those barriers, he said.

“I gained confidence after seeing countless women with their children attending the MNM party meetings. They believe that they can attend MNM party meetings and can return home safely. My cadres, who I can proudly call my brothers, made that possible. I was born in a family surrounded by women so I never really understood why people are having this gender bias. I have always wondered what wrong can happen if more women are chosen for top positions. In MNM, there are five women state secretaries and one woman district secretary. There is ‘Maiam Maadhar Padai’ apart from the party’s women’s wing. Many women who were operating as a small community and doing welfare works have been joining MNM, this is a testament to the ecosystem prevailing in the party,” Haasan said.

He further said people from the opposition camp lauded MNM’s seven-point agenda, which included providing payment to women for their work at home.

“Other parties also provide opportunities for women, but the ratio will never be the same as ours. Our party has bigger plans to encourage women entrepreneurs. There should be no gender bias in pay among the farmers; women in rural areas should have access to everything similar to those in the city. My dream is to have 50 percent of representation of women in the cabinet,” he said.

Haasan also said that it is the duty of the government to ensure there are enough toilets for women in public and workplaces in the state.

Commenting on the crimes against women, Haasan said the accused in the Pollachi sexual assault case have not been given punishment till date. “Strict laws should be made against people who commit crimes against women and children. They claim clothing is the reason for sexual assault. They (the abusers) know how to conduct themselves, but still they are violating it. It is violence. Even deities are seen with lesser clothes, some of them wear nothing. If they are not getting that thought in that place, why are they getting that while seeing my sisters?” Haasan asked.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Haasan said: “The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that night we can say that India has achieved Independence. It is the duty of the grandson (Kamal Haasan) to make his grandfather’s (Mahatma Gandhi) dream come true.”

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