In a landmark judgment, Rajya Sabha The Secretariat has directed various ministries to use gender-neutral words from the next Parliament session.
The decision came in response to a letter written by Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi demanded Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi to change the use of phrases like ‘no sir’, which is often used in replies in the House.
In his letter on 8 September, the Maharashtra MP had said that it was “with respect to mainstreaming institutional gender” by Parliament, which is the “temple of democracy”.
Small step, big difference. Thanks to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat for correcting the discrepancy in Parliament in answering questions ranging from ministries to women MPs. From now onwards the replies from the ministries will be gender neutral. pic.twitter.com/1m0hxBGmvn
— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) September 21, 2022
He urged the minister to issue appropriate instructions to the concerned MPs to address them according to their gender. “While this may seem like a small change, it will go a long way in giving women their due representation in the parliamentary process,” she said.
To this letter, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat replied, “As per convention and rules of procedure and conduct of business in the Rajya Sabha, all proceedings of the House are addressed to the Chairman, and answers to parliamentary questions are also a part of the proceedings.” Addressed only to the Speaker. However, ministries will be informed to submit gender-neutral answers to parliamentary questions from the next session of the Rajya Sabha.
In a tweet thanking the Rajya Sabha for this initiative, Chaturvedi said that it will bring a big change even if it is a small step.
“Small step, big difference. Thanks to Rajya Sabha Secretariat for correcting the discrepancy in Parliament in answering questions from ministries to women MPs. From now on the answers will be gender neutral from Ministries (sic),” she tweeted.