Indian Parliament Elects First Woman Speaker

Kumar belongs to oppressed lower caste
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jun 3, 2009 12:23 PM CDT
Indian Parliament Lower House speaker Meira Kumar, 64, addresses a press conference soon after her election to the position unopposed in New Delhi.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – India’s otherwise divided parliament unanimously hailed the appointment of the nation’s first female speaker today, the BBC reports. Meira Kumar, 64, is the daughter of a renowned politician and a longtime member of the Congress party, victorious in recent general elections. She’s also from a lower-caste community that has long faced discrimination, and her selection signals Congress’ support for minorities.

"In electing you, we members of parliament pay tribute to the women of our country and the great contribution that they have made," said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In addition to the speaker, India's president and Congress party leader are also women.