Women most precious assets, celebrate her life: Renuka

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New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) Describing women as most precious assets in this world, Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury today stressed the need for adding value to the existence of women in the country as it is a major way to control the menace of female foeticide.

Ms Chowdhury said ''there is no economic or social value attached to the feminine gender for various roles it plays in our society'', adding they are visualised as a disposable commodity. This attitude giving rise to the increasing incidence of female foeticide.

The minister was speaking at the Workshop on Female foeticide organised by the Ministry here as part of International Women Day-weeklong celebations, attended by representatives of media, spiritual leaders, NGOs and women organisations.

She said tendency of commodifying women was on rise throughout the world, even in advanced nations which resulted in alarming decline in gender ratio.

Explaining the fact that the lower or uneducated strata of society was not only to be blamed for the falling sex ratio, she said ''It is educated people who behave with gender stereotype prejudeices'' and their well off condition makes them more accessible to the technologies used to abort the unborn girl child.

The minister emphasised for a collective effort of education, empowernment and value addition to the fairer sex to break of the stereotypes.

She said the Ministry was working hard to erase the existence of the menace of female foeticide by recommending legislative changes, change in the composition of appropriate authorities to remove influence of medical personnel, strict action against guilty clinics, and more stringent punishment for the crime.

The Ministry was commencing on a massive national level awareness and sensitisation programme while taking help from stakeholders such as UNFPA, media, spiritual leaders, college students and the medical fraternity, the minister added.

Vrious welfare schemes like the Palna scheme where unwanted female new born can be left at designated places, conditional cash transfer schemedelaying the marriage beyond 18 years have been launched.

Renowned ad filmmaker and director of Genesis Films Prahlad Kakkar, who was also present on the interaction panel, said the media was still short of its efforts of gender sensitising and underlined the importance of more more workshops for key media professionals to make them feel their responsibility for the cause.

Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Shanta Sinha said a fight war level was required to fight female foeticide to get out of this barbaric attitude.

Executive Director of Rashtriya Mahila Kosh Sneh Kumar, editor, Mainstream Sumit Chakravarty, UNFPA representative Ena Singh were also present on the discussion.

UNI SP AT DS1556

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