Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov 26 (UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today called for closer ties between the women organisations of India and Vietnam to exchange views on women issues.
The President expressed her pain over the continuing inequality against women in many parts of the world.
It was unfortunate that women, who accounted for half the global population, are still deprived of ''the same opportunities as their male counterparts, and often face discrimination or social biases,'' she said.
The President said India was making serious efforts for the empowerment of women. ''In India, the government is seriously engaged in the task of empowerment of women and gender equality,'' she said and asked the Vietnamese women about the situation in their country, challenges being faced by them and the strategy adopted by them to address to these difficulties.
The President said among the steps taken by India in this regard was to educate them. ''It is only when we spread education among women that awareness will be created and the rights of women will be fully realised,'' she said and praised Vietnam for having high literacy rate among women, thus creating conducive conditions for the empowerment of women.
Ms Patil added her country had given 33 per cent representation to women in local bodies to encourage their greater participation of women in national life. Legislatures at the national and state levels had enacted laws for their protection and to promote their welfare, she told the gathering.
She said a large number of non-governmental organisations and self-help groups of women were working in coordination with the government at the grassroot level.
The President praised the Vietnamese women for playing an important role in the development of their nation. Their contribution, ranging from agricultural operations to running businesses besides looking after their families was also strengthening the social fabric of the country, she noted.
The President also praised the high rate of literacy among women in Vietnam, thus creating conducive conditions for their empowerment.
She was earlier accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Noi Bai airport of this historic capital city of Vietnam to commence her second leg of the four-day state visit to Vietnam.
Chairman of the President's Office Nguyen Van Chou was among those who received the President at the airport.
Ms Patil flew in here from Ho Chi Minh City of south Vietnam where she had a two-day stay and addressed the Business Forum organised by Vietnam Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Indian Businessmen in Vietnam and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce.
She spent her evening with the under-privileged children at the Birla Orphan Village built by late industrialist G D Birla as a gift to this country in 1987.
The President advised the children to spend some time learning about India so that when they grew up, they could contribute to the friendship between India and Vietnam.
UNI KAS SKB