India: Govt prioritising female foeticide, illiteracy and discrimination Print E-mail

Wednesday March 7 2007

Sonia appeals for greater focus on women's issues

Special Correspondent

Lists female foeticide, illiteracy and discrimination

  • The gender ration is terribly skewed in some areas, she says Government `committed' to giving priority to welfare of women, children

  • GENDER SUPPORT: Congress president Sonia Gandhi along with Beena, a panchayat sarpanch from Bihar, at the International Women's Day celebrations at the National Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday (Photo: R.V. Moorthy)  

  •  NEW DELHI: United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi has stressed the need for focussing attention on gender issues, including female foeticide, illiteracy and discrimination, against women.

    "Women may have more opportunities now. But we still have a long way to go,'' she said after unfurling a multi-coloured flag to mark the International Women's Day celebrations titled `Ananya' (The Incomparable) here on Tuesday.

    Ms. Gandhi said the Constitution entitled women to equal opportunities and rights, but in some parts of the land the rate of female foeticide was high and the gender ratio terribly skewed. "Girls are not being sent to school in many places and women face prejudice and discrimination at the workplace," she said. These issues should get focus at the Women's Day celebrations, she said.

    She asserted that the Government was giving top priority to the welfare of women and children.

    Responsible positions
    According to Ms. Gandhi, the Panchayati Raj system had brought women to positions of responsibility. About 12 lakh women in panchayats had disproved the scepticism that they would just be proxies for men or mere rubber stamps.

    Earlier, Ms. Gandhi unfurled a theme flag on women's empowerment designed by Farook Ambalapurathe of the United Nations Population Fund. Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury and Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar were present at the function, which was attended by a large number of women panchayat leaders and rights activists.

    The flag, which depicts the colours of a muted rainbow under the national tricolour against a white background, will be hoisted all over the country on International Women's Day on March 8.

    Film festival
    The weeklong celebrations of the International Women's Day began on Monday with the inauguration of a film festival here that will showcase movies based on women-related themes.

    Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat will release a series of stamps designed for the occasion on Thursday.