"Mainstreaming gender equality is indeed central to the ideal of development. Gender equality and empowerment of women have a critical role to play in the development process, particularly through a multiplier effect," Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said here at the Preparatory Committee meeting of the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments.
    
Addressing a session on 'Mainstreaming gender equality', Mahajan said, "India is fully committed to the promotion of gender equality and for utilizing enabling technologies, particularly information and communications technology for the empowerment of women."
    
She added that India was among the early pioneers of gender empowerment and the country's freedom struggle and subsequent political evolution has given women equal political rights, including at the grassroots level.
    
She said in the context of sustainable development, it is equally important to retain the traditional role of the woman in the society.
    
"As the Indian experience ably demonstrates, the woman plays a central role in sustainable development, not only as a mother, but equally importantly as a manager of the household, a unifying factor in the family, and a repository of traditional values which in turn impacts on the education and development of the younger generation," she said.
    
Noting the holistic treatment of gender issues under the Sustainable Development Goals, Mahajan said India hopes that such approach towards mainstreaming gender would be integrated into the Post-2015 Development Agenda as well.
    
"Participation of women in decision-making and policy formulation, improvement in women’s literacy, enhancing women’s access to productive resources and opportunities, and investing in women’s health and nutrition, significantly enhance sustained economic growth and reduce poverty," she said.

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