Bengaluru: Karnataka Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar on Sunday, October 10, claimed that modern Indian women want to stay single, are unwilling to give birth even after marriage, and desire children by surrogacy.
However, the remarks invoked the ire of women’s organizations, which condemned the over-generalized, misogynistic statement, stressing that women had every right to decide whether to have a child or not.
Addressing the gathering at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (NIMHANS) on World Mental Health Day, the minister said “Today, I am sorry to say this, lots of modern women in India want to stay single. Even if they get married, they don’t want to give birth. They want surrogacy. So there is a paradigm shift in our thinking, which is not good.”
He lamented the “western influence’ on Indian society and said that people are not willing to let their parents live with them. “Unfortunately, today we are going in a western way. We don’t want our parents to live with us, forget about grandparents being with us,” he added.
In a statement made to IANS, All India Democratic Women’s Association Vice President Vimala K.S. said that one minister from the ruling BJP states that women should not go out and another is recommending walks.
“It is freedom of women whether to have a baby or not. He must have forgotten that a large section of women in this country does not have the rights over their bodies… Let minister Sudhakar prove his statement. How many women have these choices? Like women, many men do not want to have children. Why no one says anything to them,” she is quoted as saying.
Equal rights activist Brinda Adige told IANS that Sudhakar’s statement is “sexist, patriarchal, and unbecoming of a minister”.
“He is talking about a minuscule number of people and his statement is not based on research…It is not only giving birth, it involves looking after the children. If at all government wanted to make statements it should have spoken how they can help mothers” she reportedly said.
(With inputs from IANS)