Delhi,24 July :The President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil met a group of eminent women at Rashtrapati Bhavan today to discuss issues related to women’s empowerment.
The eminent women were Prof. Amita Singh (Educationist), Justice (Retd) Smt. Leela Seth (Former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh), Dr. Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath (Scientist, Professor), Dr. Ranjana Kumari (Women’s Welfare), Smt. Prema Cariappa (Social Welfare), Dr. (Smt.) Mohini Giri (Social Welfare), Smt. Tesse Thomas (Scientist), Dr. (Smt.) Kapila Vatsyanan (Member of Parliament and Scholar), Smt. Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee (Social Worker) and Dr. (Smt.) Shyamalha Pappu (Lawyer). This is the first ever meeting held by a President with a women’s group of eminent persons.
The President said that women played an important role in our Freedom Movement and in the post Independence era, the have begun to make a mark on national life especially through the Panchayati Raj Movement, which is a landmark. However, although women in urban environments have made their mark in society, women in our rural areas continue to face difficulties. The President emphasised on the efficient implementation of laws, which give women their rights as well as the delivery mechanism of these laws. The President praised the role of NGOs and appreciated their initiatives. The President also hoped that women with experience on such issues should give a feed back on how best to empower women and to work together to fulfill the aspirations and ambitions of women.
Various suggestions were made during the meeting such as:- database on women Ph. Ds, who are not working, as many of them cannot pursue careers due to family commitments. These women are human resources, which is lost to the nation. Similarly, the need to utilise women agricultural scientists, ways in which out of the box solutions can be found for them to pursue their careers without sacrificing family duties, such as flexi career planning, the need to change mindsets in work places and in families. Other issues discussed were:- the issue of national policy for war widows, providing free education to children affected by insurgency in the North East and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the need to sensitise teachers in Municipal schools to gender issues, mainstreaming of children from the North East and Jammu and Kashmir into the national mainstream, the need for awakening the male population to the gender issues regarding women, more educational opportunities for women and their utilization, problems of women in rural areas and the mapping of districts in which twenty to thirty percent of girls are literate so that they can be identified for specially focused programmes.
The group of eminent women appreciated the invitation extended to them by the Hon’ble President and said that, "The President represents grace and compassion – a woman of their ideals".