Karnataka Health Minister Sudhakar clarifies controversial statement on women

Health Minister K Sudhakar
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Health Minister K Sudhakar 

Highlights

Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar on Monday clarified that his statement that "a lot of modern women in India want to stay single; even if they get married, they don’t want to give birth; they want surrogacy" did not intend to infringe upon or thrust anything on women or single them out.

Bengaluru: Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar on Monday clarified that his statement that "a lot of modern women in India want to stay single; even if they get married, they don't want to give birth; they want surrogacy" did not intend to infringe upon or thrust anything on women or single them out.

"I am the proud father of a daughter," Sudhakar said, maintaining that his observations were based on research findings. Sudhakar had made the remarks while addressing a World Mental Health Day event at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) here on Sunday.

"Through my address at NIMHANS, I had intended to send across a message on how our Indian family value system can address the mental health issues which we are facing today," he said. "It is unfortunate that a small part of my address was taken out of context, thus missing out on the larger point I was trying to make," he said.

"First of all, I would like to convey that I am the proud father of a daughter and I am also a medical doctor. So I fully understand the sensitivities around women and also the mental health issues that are concerning us," he said. The minister said that it is widely established through research and studies that in a situation where mental health resources are a scarcity, families form a valuable support system, which could be helpful in managing various stressful situations.

"My statement about younger generation shying away from marriage and reproduction is also based on a survey. The findings of the YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial survey shows that among millennials, 19 per cent aren't interested in either children or marriage. Another 8 per cent want children but are not interested in marriage. Among post-millennials (or Gen Z adults), 23 per cent aren't interested in either children or marriage. As in the case of millennials, 8 per cent want children but are not interested in marriage. There are very little gender-wise differences in these trends. It is applicable to both boys and girls," he said.

"The only point I was trying to convey was that our youth can find solution and solace to mental health issues like anxiety, depression and stress in our traditional family system and its values, which offer a wonderful support system. I would like to clarify that I had no intention to single out women," he said.

Sudhakar's statement had drawn flak from woman activits and progressive organisations, which said it did not suit the dignity of his position, as he is no one to question women on whether they want to have children.

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