Union Minister Smriti Irani was everyone’s favourite bahu when she essayed the role of Tulsi in long-running TV soap Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. When Tulsi (Smriti Irani’s character’s name on the series) cried on-screen, so did millions in Indian households. Subsequently, she quit her acting career and entered politics.

Speaking at a panel discussion on ‘No Tulsi in the Aangan – Changing gender roles in film’ at the Times LitFest, Smriti Irani said she never faced any gender bias while working in TV or performing her job in day-to-day politics or government.

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“Let me very proudly say that as a television actor, I never ever saw any gender bias. I’ve been in various roles in TV — writer, producer, associate director. In politics, during my organisational roles, I have never seen gender bias, within my organisation,” she said, Indian Express reports.

Irani said there are days when the slightest sexist remarks she gets is on the basis of being a woman or being called ‘an actor once upon’.

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“Today when I am a Minister, I think the best way to deride a woman is to say ‘oh you’re a woman’. If you can’t defeat them on the merit of the case, then I get it slightly that either I am a woman or an actor once upon.”

While on the topic, Irani didn’t deny that there are a few who attempted to demean her, people at large raised their voice against sexism. “One or two people who have tried have got immense amount of negative feedback from people at large. Because the citizen does not support that kind of negative approach.

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She added, “I take a lot of pride in the fact that the people at the end of the day, who I serve as a Minister, judge an MP or a Minister on the basis of their work, not because they’re a man or a woman.” The actor-turned-politician then shed light on female leaders, saying, “It is a huge compliment to our country that we have a female speaker in the House, female Opposition leader, that we had a female Prime Minister and a President. That says a lot about our country.”

Also read: Why women politicians reject the gender card: Sagarika Ghose

Feature Image Credit: The Hindu

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