Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday said a nation is always empowered by its women.
“Nation is always empowered by its women. It is she who nurtures a citizen as a mother. These empowered citizens eventually make an empowered country,” Modi said, addressing the National Women Legislators Conference in the Central Hall of Parliament.
Women representatives from both houses of parliament, state legislative assemblies and councils attended the two-day conference that concluded yesterday.
The prime minister said the country must think beyond “women development,” and move towards “women-led development.”
Modi said multitasking, considered to be a very important element of modern day management, comes naturally to women.
Congratulating Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for her leadership and vision to organise the conference, the prime minister said in addition to the structured component of such events, experiences shared informally among delegates are also extremely enriching.
“Women have higher success ratio despite the fewer opportunities they get in comparison to men. Women need to recognise themselves and their strength and feel confident about it,” Modi said.
“You will recognise your strength only when you encounter a challenge. So, our women must use the challenges they face to empower themselves,” he added.
“Women are better in adopting technologies than men. They are specially gifted by god in this aspect.”
The prime minister urged the women legislators to engage with their constituents using technology. He described his own experience in this regard, and spoke of the enriching thoughts and views he has been receiving through the MyGov platform and Narendra Modi App.
On the first day of the conference on Saturday, President Pranab Mukherjee stressed the need for appropriate women representation in parliament and state assemblies, and said women’s empowerment was impossible in the absence of their representation in legislative bodies.
“It’s unfortunate (for the country) for not being able to ensure 33% representation of women in parliament,” he said.
Praising Modi for giving due importance to the cause of women and girls, the president said: “I thank prime minister for ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (save girl child, educate girl child) programme”.
He said that to ensure overall development of the country and society, the country must recognise and encourage ‘stree shakti’ (women’s power) and this could only be possible by giving them their due representation in parliament and state legislatures.
“How can there be empowerment of women without proper representation,” he asked.
Pointing out that the Indian Constitution provides for equal rights for men and women, the president said the UN has declared the theme of International Women’s Day of 2016 as “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality”.
Observing that the global community has to rededicate itself to gender equality and women’s empowerment, the president said the conference was a step in the right direction to carry forward the UN agenda of sustainable development through gender equality.
Vice President Hamid Ansari and the Lok Sabha speaker said women’s representation in parliament and state legislatures has to be corrected as they play a crucial role in society.
Observing that the theme of the conference was “appropriate and timely”, Ansari called upon all political parties to help in ensuring women’s representation as it was in the national interest.
“Women must have votes and equal legal status, but the problem does not end there. It only commences at the point where women begin to affect the political deliberations of the nation,” he said, adding that the present situation with regard to their representation is “certainly not very encouraging”.
Mahajan hoped that when women legislators would sit together, they would come out with new provisions and answers to various problems.
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