Chennai, Nov 2: President Pratibha Patil today urged everyone to come together to provide a safer and secure environment for girls at colleges and women at work.
"I hope we can all join hands and work together to make it safer and more secure for girls at college and women at work. Empowering women will require a multi-pronged approach. A three E-approach - enabling environment, education and equality - would be very useful," Patil said at the 17th Convocation of Mother Teresa Women's University here.
Commenting on the legislation to protect women against domestic violence and from sexual harassment at the workplace and to give Hindu women inheritance rights in co-parcenary property, she said: "Legislative and administrative initiatives to empower our women are necessary and important, but not enough. We also need a fundamental change in our mindsets."
There is a need of new social reform movement for gender equality and empowerment of women - a movement that changes society's attitude towards women, Patil added.
It is equally important for women to be motivated to fight discrimination and to march towards equal status, she said.
Emphasising on physical education of girl students, she said, "Self-defence is the best defence."
Commenting on grim scenario of male-female sex ratio in the country, Patil said: "Unfortunately, female foeticide is committed not only by the illiterate and the impoverished, it is being committed in cities and among the educated and well-to-do."
She went on to say that it was shocking to see that there were higher incidents of female foeticide in the more developed districts and regions of the country.
Tamil Nadu Governor and Chancellor of Mother Teresa Women's University Surjit Singh Barnalaji, Tamil Nadu Minister for Higher Education and Pro-Chancellor of the University K Ponmudy, State Minister for Social Welfare Poongothai and Vice Chancellor of the University D Janaki were also present on the occasion.
Mother Teresa Women's University was established in 1984, in the presence of Mother Teresa, a humanitarian par-excellence and Nobel Laureate for Peace.