Prez meets group of eminent women on women's issues

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New Delhi, Jul 24 (UNI) Dr Kapila Vatsyanan, MP, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh Leela Seth and social activist Mohini Giri were among a group of eminent women who met President Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and discussed issues related to women's empowerment.

Others in the group were Prof Amita Singh (educationist), Dr Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath and Tesse Thomas (both scientists), Dr Ranjana Kumari, Prema Cariappa, Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee (social activists) and Dr Shyamalha Pappu (lawyer).

This is the first ever meeting held by a President with a women's group of eminent persons.

The President said women played an important role in our freedom movement and in the post independence era, they have begun to make a mark in national life especially through the Panchayati Raj Movement, which is a landmark.

She emphasised on the efficient implementation of laws, which gave women their rights as well as the delivery mechanism of these laws and praised the role of NGOs for their initiatives.

Various suggestions were made during the meeting such as database on women PhDs, who are not working, as many of them could not pursue careers due to family commitments.

The ladies felt women are human resources, which are lost to the nation. Similarly, the need to utilise women agricultural scientists, ways in which out of the box solutions can be found for them to pursue their careers without sacrificing family duties, such as flexi career planning, the need to change mindsets in work places and in families, they said.

Other issues that were discussed included--the issue of national policy for war widows, providing free education to children affected by insurgency in the North East and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the need to sensitise teachers in Municipal schools to gender issues, mainstreaming of children from the North East and Jammu and Kashmir into the national mainstream. The need for awakening the male population to the gender issues regarding women, more educational opportunities for women and their utilisation, problems of women in rural areas and the mapping of districts in which 20 to 30 per cent of girls are literate so that they can be identified for specially focussed programmes were also in the list.

UNI MMG RJ RN1848

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