Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday lauded the achievements of Indian on the occasion of International Women’s Day, calling it a “day to celebrate and honour the untiring commitment and determination of ordinary women in India and throughout the world to achieve equality, justice and economic development”.
Quoting father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, the Chairman said his words “Be the change you want to see in the world” are probably more relevant today than ever before.
In his message, the Chairman stressed on the need to have focus on gender equality and the safety of women.
“Every household, neighbourhood, school, institutions and community should start gender-sensitization. The mindset to respect girls and women should be promoted at home and in schools, public areas, public transport and at every place and every stage,” he said.
The change should begin at home, he underlined and urged the parents to ensure that there is no discrimination between a boy and girl.
“Boys should be made to treat girls with respect and affection, while girls should not be made to feel inferior in any way. There cannot be two opinions on the need to eliminate even the remotest possibility of discrimination against the girl child,” the Chairman said in his message.
Turning focus on the issue of child marriage, Chairman Naidu told that 27 per cent of girls are still getting married before they turn 18 years, as per the UNICEF study, Though, he highlighted that the phenomenon has seen a steep decline from 47 per cent a decade ago.
“An important area of concern is lower female literacy rate when compared to male literacy. This problem has to be addressed on a war footing to educate and empower women,” he flagged.
On the issue of crime against women, among the biggest in current times, the Chairman said that visible policing and patrolling has to be increased, particularly in desolate areas and during nights.
“Visible policing will not only provide reassurance to people but will also be a deterrent to trouble-makers,” he told the house.
Time and again women have proved that they are not only second to none in any field, but better than men in multi-tasking, he said, adding, “Women have made outstanding contributions in various fields in the country from building rockets to wielding a cricket bat. Be it politics, poetry, sports or business, women have excelled whenever they had an opportunity”.
Quoting the architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr. BR Ambedkar, he said, “I measure the progress of community by the degree of the progress which women have achieved”.
“With women constituting about 50 per cent of our population, social, economic and political empowerment of women, including providing reservation in the Parliament and State Legislatures, has to be accorded top priority for the country to achieve rapid progress,” the Chairman said in his closing remarks.