In unique step, UP Assembly earmarks a day just for women MLAs to raise issues

During the five-day monsoon session starting on Monday, time after the question hour on September 22 will be reserved for discussion by women MLAs

There are 47 women MLAs in the 403-member UP Legislative Assembly, out of which 22 are first-timers

In a unique initiative, UP assembly has decided to keep a day — September 22 — exclusively for women lawmakers to raise issues during the five-day monsoon session that starts on Monday.

This was decided at the all-party and business advisory committee meetings on Sunday.

“On September 22, we will give an opportunity to the women MLAs to speak. This is something which no other legislative assembly in the country has done… The time after the Question Hour will be reserved for discussion by the women MLAs,” assembly Speaker Satish Mahana told mediapersons on Sunday.


Mahana took the decision after an interaction with MLAs during which women lawmakers raised the issue of not getting adequate opportunity to speak in the house. “All women members will be given an opportunity to speak on the issues they want to after the question hour on the specified day,” Mahana said.

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There are 47 women MLAs in the 403-member UP Legislative Assembly, out of which 22 are first-timers.

Speaker-MLAs interaction

The concern that women legislators are hesitant to speak in the male-dominated assembly was raised by them during their interaction with the Speaker as part of an initiative to “develop a better rapport” with the MLAs and for “better functioning” of the House.

The interaction was a part of exercise launched by speaker Mahana wherein he interacted with group of legislators according to their professional degrees, gender and legislative stints for exchanging ideas and experiences without the constraint of party whips and ideologies.

“When I met women MLAs and listened to their issues, I realised that some of them become uncomfortable when male members start speaking. I had then assured them to set aside a day for women legislators to speak,” Mahana added.

The Question Hour would be taken up as usual on September 22. After the Question Hour, the remaining of the day’s proceedings will be for women legislators and women issues. In future too, one day could be dedicated to one group of MLAs or issues in this manner, a senior official told mediapersons.

Move welcomed

The women MLAs, cutting across the party lines, welcomed the Speakers’ initiative calling it a much-awaited gesture to empower the women MLAs by ensuring that their voice was heard without getting sunk in the din of the house. Women MLAs said they were eager to see the response of their male counterparts and how they react when they raise issues.

Later in the day, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told BJP legislators that the “unique step” to set aside a day for women members should be emulated in the legislative council and asked parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Khanna to make a woman member the “presiding officer” in both the Houses during the special session.

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He also asked women legislators to speak on the steps taken by the government on empowering women, especially under “Mission Shakti”.

The move comes at a time when the Opposition is all set to raise the issue of women’s security in the state in the backdrop of the recent incident of alleged rape and murder of two Dalit sisters in Lakhimpur Kheri.