Mumbai, Dec 4: Union Minister and former actress Smriti Irani says she is extremely proud of the fact that she never came across any gender bias while working in TV or performing her job in day-to-day politics or government.
Irani became a household name after playing Tulsi in her long-running and popular TV soap "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi". She then quit TV and entered politics, where she joined BJP and later became a Union Minister. "Let me very proudly say that as a television actor, I never ever saw any gender bias. I've been in various roles in TV, writer, producer, associate director.
In politics, during my organisational roles, I have never seen gender bias, within my organisation." Irani says there are days when the slightest sexist remarks she gets is on the basis of being a woman or being called "an actor once upon".
"Today when I am a Minister, I think the best way to deride a woman is to say 'oh you're a woman'. If you can't defeat them on the merit of the case, then I get it slightly that either I am a woman or an actor once upon." Irani, 40, was speaking at a panel discussion on 'No Tulsi in the Aangan - Changing gender roles in film' at the Times LitFest, last evening. Irani says though a few people tried to demean her, people at large raised their voice against sexism.
"One or two people who have tried, have got immense amount of negative feedback from people at large. Because the citizen does not support that kind of negative approach. "I take a lot of pride in the fact that the people at the end of the day, who I serve as a Minister, judge an MP or a Minister on the basis of their work not because they're a man or a woman."
The actor-turned-politician believes it is a huge compliment to the country that despite some people trying to pull down women, female leaders have held important positions. "It is a huge compliment to our country that we have a female speaker in the House, female Opposition leader, that we had a female Prime Minister and a President. That says a lot about our country."