New Delhi, Mar 8 : United Progressive Alliance chairperson and Congress Party chief, Sonia Gandhi today gave away Stree Shakti Puraskar for outstanding achievements in the area of women' empowerment.
Presenting the awards, Sonia Gandhi said that journey of empowerment of the women is challenging but it should not be stopped at any cost.
Expressing concern over female foeticide, she said that the crime should be stopped and women should work for the society where there is not a single case of female foeticide and dowry death.
Underlining the importance women's welfare and empowerment, Sonia Gandhi said whenever there is a crisis in a society women are worst affected. Hence waiving off the farmers' loan would benefit women most.
Recalling the initiative of Late Rajiv Gandhi for women reservations in Panchayats, she said that today over 10 lakh women are successfully working in Panchayats, which is a symbol of women empowerment at grassroot level.
Gursharan Kaur, wife of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh was also present on the occasion.
The awardees of Stree Shakti Puraskar have shown that inspite of various odds, women, if given opportunities, can be trendsetters in any walk of the life.
Shaik Shamshad Begum of Khammam, Andhra Pradesh was awarded for her support to self-help groups. She alone formed village level organization with 400 members.
The award instituted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development carries a citation and an amount of three lakh rupees.
Vanguri Suvartha of Andhra Pradesh, an illiterate housewife who was often beaten by her husband, formed a self-help group and emerged as a prominent community leader.
Dr. Rani Bang of Maharashtra through the Instituted SEARCH has provided health care to 50,000 tribal and rural women.
Triveni Balkrishna Acharya of Mumbai, a journalist fighting for the rights of sex workers and rescued 550 women and girls from Mumbai, Surat and Pune.
Kalpna Sarkar of Hoshangabad has done remarkable work for widows, deserted and old women.
Salmin Lyngdoh of Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya not only organizes training for skill upgradation of women but has conducted a number of awareness programme and counseling for women against domestic violence.
Neeta Bahadur of Lucknow has done several programmes for Anganwadi workers and for parents of disabled children.
D. Santhi of Erode is running rehabilitation center for disabled.
Mammohani Debnath of Tripura has Panchayat Pradhan since 1994.
Sandhya Raman of New Delhi has been awarded for contribution in upgrading skills of women artisans in textile industry.
Nighat Shafi Pandit of Srinagar is a social activist and has worked for development of children and empowerment of children.
Senu Tsuhah of Nagaland has done outstanding work for women health and has been the secretary of village women board.
Kavita Srivastava of Rajasthan has work to bring village women together on one plateform for collective articulation of their problems and their solutions.
Pink Virani of New Delhi, moving beyond her personal trauma has written the best selling 'Bitter Chocolate' on sexual abuse and working to promote self-help groups among victims of gender injustice.