Prez calls for new social reform movement to empower women

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Chennai, Nov 2 (UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today called for a new social reform movement that changes society's attitude towards women.

Delivering the 17th convocation address of the Mother Teresa Women's University here, she said though legislative and administratvie initiatives were necessary for women empowerment, they were not enough.

''There should be fundamental change in our mindsets. We need a new social reform movement for gender equality and women empowerment - a movement that changes society's attitude towards women,'' she added.

Observing that grassroots women's movements could be the most vocal champions of women empowerment, she pointed out that Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in India had made a significant impact on the economic empowerment of rural women.

She said female foeticide was the ''worst manifestation of gender discrimination'' and added that society had to be made aware that a girl child was a boon and a gift.

''Female foeticide is committed not only by the illiterate and the impoverished. It is committed in cities and among the educated and well-to-do. It is shocking that there are higher incidents of female foeticide in the more developed districts and regions of our country,'' she regretted.

''The first step towards ending such discrimination against girls and women is education. Enrollment of girls in schools should be increased to vastly improve female literacy', she added.

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