Margaret Alva was the General Secretary of the Indian National Congress and a close adviser to the president of the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi. She was a five-term member of the Indian parliament from 1974 to 2004.
She has spearheaded four major legislative amendments passed by the Indian parliament involving women's rights, marriage laws, equal remuneration and the reservation of quotas for women in local politics.
In 2003, she was honored by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa for playing an important role in garnering support for the people of South Africa during their struggle for freedom and against apartheid. Ms. Alva is a former Minister of Human Resource Development under the government of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. A lawyer by profession, she is the founder President of NGO 'Karuna'- a voluntary group for women.
In an interview to The Times of India she says "Politics didn’t come naturally to me. It was a coincidence — Indira Gandhi heard me give a speech and asked me to join politics.” At 31, Alva became the youngest woman Rajya Sabha member
The official Rajya Sabha Site says : "*ALVA, SHRIMATI MARGARET: B.A., B.L; Congress (I) (Kamataka); d. of Shri P.A. Nazareth; b. April 14, 1942; m. Shri Niranjan Alva, 3 s. and 1 d.; Member, Rajya Sabha, 3-4-1974 to 2-4-1980, 3-4-1980 to 2-4-1986 and 3-4-1986 till date; Vice- Chairman, Rajya Sabha, 1983—85; Union Minister of State in the Ministries of, (i) Parliamentary affairs and (ii) Youth and Sports and Women and Child Development, December, 1984 to November, 1989; Chairman, Committee on Papers laid on the Table, 1990-91; General Secretary, Karnataka P.C.C., 1978-50; Joint Secretary, A.I.C.C., 1975—77.
Per Add : 2, Ware Road, Bangalore (Karnataka)."