Joined: 27 September 2005
Woman's Day shouldn't be an annual event, says PM's wife
New Delhi: Woman's Day should not remain an annual event but be remembered more often to give importance to their role in development, feels Gursharan Kaur wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"This day (International Woman's Day) comes but one day in a year but that does not mean it should not be remembered more often. We must give this subject more importance," said Kaur, addressing a meet on women as effective leaders organised here Wednesday by Shanti Sahyog, an NGO, and the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO).
In a brief message delivered with grace and without homilies, Kaur recalled some of the great women visionaries and leaders of the country like Kasturba Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Madam Bikaji Cama and Indira Gandhi as also several women leaders in South Asia who have played a major role in their country or in the region's development.
"There is no dearth of names. The main reason why women are not able to come forward is the problem facing the girl child and women - illiteracy. Till such time as we don't give due importance to the girl child and promote literacy we cannot overcome this problem," she said.
Stating that women are no less than men, Kaur stated, "We have the necessary strength, we only need freedom to pursue the goals, the motivation, support and opportunity."
The panel discussion that followed had two women from the celluloid who are also social activists and in the political arena - Shabana Azmi and Smriti Irani and only one male political leader - former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah.
A common threat that bound their views was the need for given women the right to make choice in life - of what they want to do and how they would like to pursue them.
Expressing the hope that the prime minister's wife would help to achieve the goal of 33 percent reservation for women in parliament, Abdullah said women would have to pursue their goal as a crusade.
"Finally women are seeking their rights," he said.
"True and effective leadership can only be achieved if you bring the strength of being a woman to the fore," said Azmi, who was critical of the stereotype images perpetuated by film and television serial makers and also academicians by reinforcing the gender divide.
The social yardsticks of education, health and literacy are some of the indicators of not just economic development but also woman's empowerment, stated Azmi, a former Rajya Sabha member.
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