No society can call itself civilised if it does not honour women, President Pranab Mukherjee said today as he emphasised on providing reservation for women in Parliament.
Addressing a function here, Mukherjee said the recognition of women in the country's growth has not been taken into account while calculating the GDP, which reflects the attitude of discrimination of the society.
"It's really a dichotomy in our society where we call women as a source of power, embodiment of motherhood. We worship women as deities. Our core civilisational values tell us to respect a woman.
"But unfortunately, we are really disturbed when day-in and day-out we are confronted by news of brutalising of women. Sometimes we wonder. Today we are called as civilised society. Can any society be described as civilised if it doesn't honour its women?" Mukherjee asked.
"The primary objective of civilisational values is to respect the women but we still have to walk many miles to achieve it," he said.
The contribution which the women make is unique but it is not recognised, the President noted.
"When we calculate our GDP (Gross Domestic Product), we take into account various factors. But we do not take into account the contributions made by our womenfolk in whatever capacity they may work.
"It is truly reflective of the attitude of discrimination and non-performance on behalf of the society," the President said while inaugurating the centenary celebrations of Women's Indian Association.
He said despite equal rights, the representation of women in Lok Sabha is just 11.3 per cent against the global average of 22.8 per cent.
Mukherjee said without appropriate reservations, representation of women will be difficult to achieve on basis of voluntary actions by political parties and institutions, as reservations provide Constitutional guarantees and earmarking of constituencies to be represented by women.
He said in order to have true representation of women in all decision-making bodies, and not making one or two exceptions by making isolating cases of brilliance, opportunities need to be given to them.
"It is good that scope of education has expanded. The scope of opportunities for employment has expanded. But it will have to be expanded in many other areas," the President said.
He said there is aspiration of women that opportunities are to be created for them in society. The Women's Indian Association is working towards empowerment of women.
The President also paid floral tributes to Annie Besant and Muthulakshmi Reddy, founders of the association.