United Nations, Sep 1: UN chief Ban Ki-moon has commended the vibrancy of India's democracy and emphasised the "important role" played by the country's parliament in protecting women's rights and enhancing gender equality during a meeting with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan here.
The Secretary-General yesterday met Mahajan and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Pallath Joseph Kurien.
"The Secretary-General emphasised the important role played by the Indian parliament in protecting women's rights and enhancing gender equality, including combatting violence against women," according to a readout of the meeting released by Ban's office. [Kalam an 'inspiration', says Ban Ki-moon]
He commended the vibrancy of India's democracy and discussed the priority areas of the UN for this year, including reaching a meaningful and binding agreement on climate change and adopting a new sustainable development agenda, it added.
Mahajan is here to participate in the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.
On the weekend, she had also addressed a closed door gathering at the Tenth Meeting of Women Speakers of Parliament, which focussed on the theme of 'Innovating For Gender Equality: Making development, peace and democracy a reality for women and men' organised by the Inter- Parliamentary Union.
In the meeting of women speakers on August 30, Mahajan spoke on 'Development: Innovating for Financing for Gender Equality'.
She stressed that the Women Speakers of Parliament should ensure that more and more women become participative in parliamentary committees and are appointed in a large number to positions of effective leadership in parliamentary structures.
She also called for allocation of more time in the House to have debates on gender equality, according to a release from her office.