Following Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi’s plea to stop using the term “sir,” responses to parliamentary inquiries will utilize gender-neutral terminology.
She wrote the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs last month, “When a negative answer is given to a query posed to the Parliament, the term “No, Sir” is frequently used. The institutional gender mainstreaming by Parliament, the temple of democracy, concerns me as a female legislator.”
Small change, huge impact. Thank the Rajya Sabha Secretariat for resolving the discrepancy in how government departments responded to questions from female MPs. The ministries’ responses will henceforth be gender-neutral.
The Maharashtra MP published a response she received from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat on September 20. All House procedures, including responses to parliamentary inquiries, were to be directed to the chairperson. However, ministries will be required to provide gender-neutral answers starting with the Rajya Sabha’s next session. It’s unclear if responses said “madam” when a woman held the chair, although the current chairperson is a man.
However, tradition also dictates that the same gender-neutral language be used in the Lok Sabha.
In her letter, Ms. Chaturvedi claimed that “equality is the cornerstone upon which our Constitution is built… Even while this adjustment may appear insignificant, it will significantly increase the amount of representation that women receive in the parliamentary process.”