Shape women leaders of tomorrow — NSCW Chairperson
Demands introduction of Acquired Property Bill NLA
Kohima, March 8 (EMN): Chairperson of Nagaland State Commission for Women (NSCW), Khrienuo Tachü, on Monday said that common denominator in life stories of all Naga women leaders and pathbreakers, both past and present, is their resilience and great fortitude amid challenges and setbacks; and stressed on the need to provide space for women in decision-making bodies.
She was presenting her keynote address on the occasion of International Women’s Day celebration at Hotel Vivor in Kohima on the theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world”, jointly organised by NSCW, Nagaland State Social Welfare Board (NSSWB), and State Resource Centre for Women (SRCW) under Social Welfare department.
“Undeniably, there are Naga men who had achieved success and rose to leadership position against all odds, but it may be strongly argued that our social institutions, norms and practices have proved more advantageous for men than women,” said Tachü while maintaining that despite all odds Naga women have become important leaders.
She asserted that there is great strength in Naga women who juggle work and family; as women entrepreneurs taking great risks, facing discouragement, and even struggling with failures and financial constraints to carve a path for themselves and upcoming generations.
“I have witnessed first-hand so-called illiterate and uneducated women working very hard throughout the year to provide for their families. And I have seen women who through sheer hard work achieved enviable status for themselves through quality education,” she added.
Citing some women leaders in Naga society like Rano M Shaiza, Neichiülieü Nikki Haralu, Dr. Khrielieviü Kire, Banuo Jamir, Prof. Temsüla Ao and Rev. Dr. Noksangchila (first Naga woman ordained minister) and others, Tachü stated that they have been role models for women both at home and outside the state.
The chairperson expressed the need for Naga women to realise the inner strength that they are richly endowed with to become efficient leaders and pathfinders in all domains of social and political life. She also opined that the state, church, social and political organisations and individual families must provide a safe space and create opportunities to shape women leaders of tomorrow.
She said that times are changing, and both daughters and sons in Naga families are given equal life opportunities and access to education and other resources, yet there are still social norms, expectations and obstacles that women have to overcome.
“Women are emerging as leaders in various fields, but there is a need for the Naga society in general to introspect on women attaining leadership positions in the political arena, and giving more space in decision-making both in the local as well as the state level,” she said.
Tachü added that women in Naga society have been able to create space for themselves through dialogue and negotiations and not through a posture of antagonism against the state or “our male counterparts” and that women have to creatively and wisely make use of its constitutional rights and privileges to build a sustainable leadership role for women in all areas of life.
‘Introduce Acquired Property Bill in NLA’
The chairperson of NSCW also requested the state government to introduce the “Acquired Property Bill” in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA).
Reiterating that NSCW’s standpoint is clear, she said: “Our issue is not with the ancestral property. NSCW also does not seek to interfere in the private decisions of the parents regarding acquired property, the sole decision lies on them, the giver.”
She added that ‘as a statutory body of the Government of Nagaland, NSCW seeks to intervene in specific cases where parents who have no sons but only daughters are faced with the issue of inheritance of acquired property’.
On the occasion, she urged the participants to reflect on the contributions of Naga women in the society, ‘take pride in ourselves as Naga mothers, daughters and sisters and also look forward to the future with great hope and optimism’.
Positive social change
Speaking at the event, Nagaland Chief Secretary, J Alam said positive social change is taking place in the state but added that it should be orderly even if slow and should not cause disruption.
While maintaining that International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on how far a society has progressed, achievements as well as future prospect, he said that women in the state are successful in many fields, which is a positive sign, but a lot of grounds still need to be covered.
While pointing out various forms of social change like legislation, judicial activism, and administrative activism, he said it can be through collective actions, either aggressive or orderly movement. He added that conflicts with customs and traditions could be there during the process but called for an orderly change that is collective and to apply minds of all genders to make it seamless.
Alam said the Covid-19 pandemic had challenged the capacities of the state governments and women showed their leadership needed in such a situation. He congratulated women leaders, saying that it would not be possible face the crisis without the leadership roles taken up by women not only as frontline workers but also in other capacities both in government and non-government sectors.
He said the need of the hour is to start recognising the sacrifices made by women as homemakers and that the GDP of the country and states would increase by double-fold if women’s contributions are accounted.
Responding to NSCW chairperson’s request to introduce Acquired Property Bill in the state, the chief secretary said the government advocates women empowerment and that it would look into it.
Pandemic exposed women’s crucial roles
Also speaking on the occasion, the commissioner and secretary of Social Welfare department and Administrator of Nagaland State Social Welfare Board (NSSWB), Sarah R Ritse, said that the pandemic had made women realise the crucial role that they had to play as heads of department or as homemakers.
“But amongst all these, we also saw the rise of strong dedicated women frontline workers from various services, who went about their duties beyond their comfort zone, reaching out to the target groups without letting this pandemic affect them,” she said.
Highlighting various women-centric schemes under the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) and the Social Welfare department, she said NSCW played a crucial role in the forefront in collaboration with women-centric schemes such as One Stop Centre (OSC), 181 Women Helpline, Childline 1098 and State Child Protection Services (SCPS) in addressing violence against women and children, wherein in such schemes became a lifeline for many distressed women.
She informed that these cases also brought to light the issue of gap in services for rehabilitation and repatriation of victims of domestic violence, trafficked victims, persons with special needs and the much-needed intervention from the government.
She maintained that a department from Tamil Nadu, directed by the Ministry, visited the state to study the success and progress of 181 and State Resource Centre for Women (SRCW). While asserting that SCPS and OSC are also among the good performing schemes, which are at par with other states, she called for continued efforts to ensure that each and every woman are benefited from these schemes.
Ritse stated that Poshan Abhiyaan and Integrated Child Development Services, through the Anganwadi workers, continued their nutrition activities alongside various webinars and training on several issues including PMMVY (maternity benefits) related to women conducted by the department.
She also asserted that Mahila Shakti Kendra, through all the District-Level Centres for Women (DLCW), has been actively involved with livelihood activities for women and the State Child Protection Society was relentlessly following up on issues of child abandonment through its district child protection units.
Meanwhile, she informed that activities of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao are visible in many districts today and active community participation with the district administration in districts like Mon, Wokha, Phek and Kohima indicates that its aim of educating and celebrating the girl child have reach far corners.
She maintained that the occasion is a moment to celebrate to encourage each other in order to continue the work that has already begun and set an example to inspire and ignite the minds of young men and women to follow in the future.
NSCW Award for five women
On the occasion, the NSCW Award 2021 was conferred to five women achievers; the chief secretary gave away the awards to the recipients.
List of award winners:
- Abeiu Meru, President of Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA)
- Dr. Vezokholu Theyo, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Kohima
- Dr. Visakhonü Hibo, President of Nagaland College Principals’ Association (NCPA) and Principal of Japfu Christian College (JCC), Kigwema
- Pastor S Anungla, Pastor of Chang Baptist Church, Kohima
- Rose Yanthan (UBI), Officer-in-Charge, Women Cell, Police Station, Dimapur.