The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu emphasised that educational and economic empowerment is important for women empowerment.
Speaking at the inaugural of iWIN (International Women Network) - on the occasion of Women’s Day in Hyderabad today, the Vice President said that that no country could make progress if women were denied equal opportunities and were made to lag behind.
Describing education as the key to economic, political or social empowerment of women, Shri Naidu said that it was the duty of each one of us to see that no girl was left out of school. He opined that an educated woman would possess skills, self-confidence and could become a better parent. “She would also provide better nutrition and hence ensure that her children are healthy,” he added.
In this aspect, the Vice President expressed happiness over tremendous impact made by ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ in increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio of girls across all levels.
Calling for a change in mindset, the Vice President said that there was an urgent need to make boys respect girls from a young age. He said that that women were always given a respectable place in Indian culture and traditions and we need to go back to our roots.
Stating that life always needs women, Shri Naidu in his trademark style, said-
“First it is Vidya (education), then Lakshmi (wealth) and finally it is Shakti and Shanti (peace)”
He further opined that the gentle most and life giving elements in nature are identified as women. “Rivers in our country are named after women. From Usha (dawn) to Sandhya (dusk) we are at work seeking Annapurna (food)”, he added.
Describing spiritual symbols, the Vice President stated, whether we chant the Gayatri (mantra) or read the Gita (epic), or we do Vandana , Puja or Aarti with Shraddha towards God to pray, we are still with women.
Maintaining that the greatest human values are feminine, Shri Naidu said, “when we grow older we want Karuna (compassion) or Mamta (love). From those who are angry with us we want Kshama (forgiveness).”
“It is a woman’s world”, he said.
Observing that even after seven decades of Independence, there were still reports of gender discrimination, atrocities and violence against women, the Vice President stressed that there should be zero tolerance towards such social evils.
He called for meting out swift punishment to those who commit crimes against women and said that ‘political will’ was required to curb crimes against women rather than merely bringing ‘new bill’.
Stressing the need for a special emphasis on education and empowerment of rural women, the Vice President said that promoting literacy among rural women and nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship among them would pave the way for their economic empowerment.
The Vice President also called for giving equal rights to women in ancestral property, including that of the agriculture land and said that there was an urgent need to bring in uniformity in laws across the country in this regard.
Right of agricultural land empowers rural women financially and also enhances their self-esteem. We should ensure equal representation to women in family inheritance, including agriculture land, he added.
Calling peace as prerequisite for progress, he called for isolating and defeating all those elements that incite violence.
He complemented Smt. Karuna Gopal, President, Foundation of Futuristic Cities for conceiving iWIN portal for innovators to connect, collaborate and co-create solutions for contemporary problems faced by our society. He expressed hopes that the portal will help to accelerate women led innovation.
The Governor of Telangana, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, Smt. Karuna Gopal, President, Foundation of Futuristic Cities, Ms. Manisha Saboo, Center Head, Infosys were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.
Earlier in the day, the Vice President attended the Women’s Day celebrations organised by Durgabai Deshmukh Mahila Sabha (Andhra Mahila Sabha) - P. Obul Reddy Public School, in Hyderabad.
Addressing the gathering at the event, he said called upon the youth to draw inspiration from the life of visionary leaders such as Smt. Durgabai Deshmukh who dedicated her life in the service of nation at a tender age of 12 years.
Lauding Smt. Durgabai Deshmukh for establishing the Andhra Mahila Sabha for women education, Shri Naidu said that she fought for country's freedom and worked tirelessly for the welfare of the underprivileged.
He called upon all mothers to promote mother tongue by talking to them in mother tongue at home.
The Women Day celebrations were attended by Shri SV Rao, Cahirman, Durgabai Deshmukh Mahila Sabha (Andhra Mahila Sabha) - P. Obul Reddy Public School and Usha Reddy, Chairman, Durgabai Deshmukh Mahila Sabha (Andhra Mahila Sabha).