Highlights financial independence being fundamental to achieving gender equality
The Union Minister of Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has re-affirmed India’s commitment to gender equality, empowerment of women and eradication of poverty among them. Opening the session on ministerial presentations at the “Asia and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+20 Review” at Bangkok on Wednesday, the Minister said that women in India may have seen poverty and illiteracy but are marching ahead rapidly to become equal contributors in the economic and social development of the nation and aiming to set their footprint on the world. The Minister presented a detailed picture of initiatives undertaken by the government across ministries with interventions in legislative, institutional and service delivery fronts. Smt Maneka Gandhi stated that as minister for women and child development of the second most populated country of the world with a women population of 60 crores, she is a representative of women who may have suffered gender inequality for centuries but are committed to claim their place in the society.
Smt Maneka Gandhi stated that women have achieved a lot in the last few decades despite the heavy odds against them. They have risen to head national governments, they have led political and social revolutions, they have created business empires, they have discharged multiple roles at the same time with utmost efficiency and sensitivity and above all they have toiled hard to keep the sanity of the world intact. Her comment that “If the ability to multitask and bear suffering is a qualification, then we are the stronger sex” was greeted by loud applause by the delegates.
She underlined the fact that women will get all the other equalities if we get financial independence and gave details of the vision of India’s Prime Minister Sh Narendra Modi in the field of Skill Development which will ensure that the skills for women go beyond the stereotypes. She also stressed on the need for increasing the presence of women in the police force which can become a strong instrument for curbing gender based violence.
Concluding her address, the Minister stated that it is indeed extraordinary that when the human species has only men and women and when neither can do without the other, there is no equality. The world needs a movement spanning across centuries to fight for parity,therefore, the issue of gender equality must become something more than a slogan, she added.
Maneka Gandhi also had bilateral meetings with Mr Adul Saengsingkaew, Minister for Social development and Human Security, Government of Thailand, Ms Meng Xiaosi, Vice chairperson, national Working Committee on women and Children, Republic of China and Ms Afroze, Minister of Women and Child development, Government of Bangladesh. The dignitaries exchanged details of national priorities in the field of gender equality and women empowerment.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is holding the conference at Bangkok on November 19-20, 2014 as a prelude to the 20 year review of the achievements of the Platform for Action established in 1995 at Beijing. The Conference is also reviewing the progress and remaining challenges, and identify priority actions, for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Asia and the Pacific. The Conference is being attended by over 700 delegates including some heads of governments, Ministers, government officials and representatives of the civil society.