Electing women to NLA a major breakthrough for gender equality, says Padma Shri Awardee Dr. P Kilemsungla
Padma Shri Awardee and former member of Union Public Service Commission, Dr. P Kilemsungla, on Wednesday said election of the first two legislators in Nagaland is a major breakthrough for gender equality in the history of Naga women.
Addressing the International Women’s Day celebration in Kohima, she said the floodgates are now opened for women to participate in the decision-making responsibilities of the state and expressed optimism that more women will come forward in the future for a brighter and inclusive Naga society.
“In the past, whenever we met for such occasions, we started with a note that Naga women’s status was much better than other counterparts in the mainland and yet concluded with a sad commentary that Naga women were yet to participate in the decision-making body such as the state Assembly.
“But our history has changed today. The wind is blowing in a different direction because two of our courageous women, who fought for the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly, have won. We are proud of them,” she said.
Congratulating the two women legislators, she prayed that God gives them divine wisdom to lead and serve the people.
She also said that women should never think they are only women or just a girl. “We are builders of our family, society and nation,” she said, adding that women play an important role and influence in shaping the nation.
Speaking on this year’s theme “Digit all, innovation and technology for gender equality”, Kilemsungla said it is the drive that is bringing revolution in this age.
She said the digital age represents an unprecedented opportunity to remove gender disparity and inequality.
‘The technology is a great leveler, giving equal benefit to the masses. In fact, the advantage it brings is even more to women as in many societies women are constrained for many physical movements,’ she pointed out.
‘As much as a blessing, it is also becoming a big challenge to control its use in the right way. This is where this tool has to be carefully handled, otherwise it will control the users and distract them in the journey,’ she added.
Kilemsungla said that two principles — good education and character building — which come from the knowledge of God and truth, have stood the test of time.
There is a shortfall of people of character and transparency, she lamented while urging the young people to invest in education and learn the basic principles of science, which even with future changes in technology, will not change its foundational principles with time, as technology evolves around these foundations.
‘Gender-based violence rising’
Meanwhile, Secretary of Social Welfare and administrator of Nagaland State Social Welfare Board, Martha R Ritse, said that violence against women in digital space is on the rise.
In the NCRB report, Nagaland is often shown as having a very low crime rate in regards to violence against women. However, many more cases are being reported through services like One Stop Centre and Women Helpline-181, which cater to women affected by violence and those in distress situations, she said.
She further informed that such help centres have catered to over 1000 cases related to gender-based violence and women in distress situations, since its inception.
She called upon the gathering to talk about the harsh reality that women face and try to address gender discrimination, inequality and violations that happens in private and public spaces.
The officer also spoke on objectives of Mission Shakti which aims at providing all women and girls, including socially and economically marginalised and vulnerable groups, in need of care and protection, with short term and long-term services and information for their holistic development and empowerment.
It has two sub-schemes — “Sambal” for safety and security of women, and “Samarthya” for empowerment of women.
Commissioner and Secretary of Women Resource Development and Horticulture, Anenla T Sato, said that women participation has become important in all aspects.
She also pointed out that equality among genders is still not accepted in Naga society and “we are still fighting for gender equality”.
‘One needs to think of these issues with so much reasoning,’ she added.
She reminded that Nagaland first celebrated International Women’s Day in 2007.
‘Back then, the state celebrated the achievements of the women. However, one should reach out to the unreached,’ she said.
Director of Women Resource Development, Vilonie Sakhrie, gave an overview of the Transformative Livelihood Intervention (TLI) project and the Myki initiative.
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