Vyas laments women's plight, lists four needs

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New Delhi, Sep 28 (UNI) National Commission for Women Chairperson Girija Vyas has emphasised on four basic needs that are required by the women today, namely legal rights, reservation in various sectors, education and economic development.

Speaking at a National Advocacy Workshop titled ''Addressing Extreme Poverty : Gender Matters'', organised by the Centre for Social Research (CSR), here yesterday, Dr Vyas said,''European women only face mental disorders whereas Indian women are forced to attempt sucide.'' She explained that in the context of varied indicators of health, education, livelihood, governance, the situation of a poor woman in India could easily be defined as being the 'poorest' among the 'poorest of the poor'.

''Indian women's struggle for fair representation in the parliament is perhaps the longest struggle in the history of democratic India,'' Dr Ranjana Kumari, Director, CSR, said adding, giving representation to women in Parliament is not only a question of giving fair participation to women in working of the nation, but also a question of social justice, gender balance and gender quality.

The event looked at the experiences of women from grassroot level, challenges faced by them, along with the organisations working for them and consequently design a roadmap to address the serious issues related to women.

CSR has been working with the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme for the last four years. This workshop was organised as a part of that programme yesterday.

Noted academicians, scholars, representatives from various national and international non-governmental organisations, government officials, and other autonomous bodies attended the event joining their hands to the main cause of 'enhancing the role of women in strenthening democracy'.

''The lack of political power reflects in the policy outcomes in the social and economic indexes as well,'' Dr Ranjana Kumari said.

Ms Prabha from an NGO PALS, Kanpur, pointed out that today's women were not aware of their rights adding, ''When women can go for rallies of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayavati, then why can't they go for their own.'' She mentioned about their Gender Sensitisation training sessions, wherein groups of women were being made focussing on their skill building in a particular work area so as to help them earn their living. The methodology adopted during those sessions was of participatory learning with the facilitator being a learner herself.

''Social change should start at individual level otherwise it will look like model preaching only,'' said Mr Rajesh Tondon, Director, NGO Priya. He mentioned about violence against women, adding that women have always been exploited more when they tried to raise voice against the same.

He said a technique should be introduced so that women are able to resist to violence. According to him, gender sensitisation programme should only be for men because they were the one who were responsible for it and for the same, men should be taught within the family.

Adding on to it, Ms Anju Dubey, Head, Gender Training Institute, CSR, said, ''It is often said that women instigate violence against themselves, however, it is an unproven notion,'' focussing on governance being delivered to the poor women.

Referring to women's tolerance to exploitation as a major factor behind all ill-happenings, Ms Purabi Paul from a Jharkhand NGO said, ''They don't realise, at an early stage, that they are being exploited.'' She added, ''We should not just talk about sensitivity of men but sensitisation of men when we are mentioning about women empowerment.'' Ms Lajwanti, a member of an NGO MBJS, Bihar, emphasised on the issue of female foeticide. She said, ''Reproductive rights should be given to the women also because it is she who has to take care of child at the initial stage.'' A play was also being performed by the students of Lady Irwin College highlighting the problem of women trafficking. It was much praised by the gathering.

'' The levels of women morbidity in India have been increasing and micro-studies show far higher morbidity than is reflected in the national statistics,'' said Dr Asha Kapoor Mehta, Professor of Economics. She added that women have to take physical, emotional, nutritional and spiritual care of her family, so her financial needs should be taken care of properly.


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