Women’s Day observed at the state secretariat
KOHIMA, MARCH 4
As part of the International Women’s Week being observed worldwide, Nagaland today joined in the observation by organizing a programme dedicated as Women’s Day at the state Secretariat Complex, Kohima to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater participation to close gaps in gender equality.
“Men and women are part of the same species… Both the sexes have to complement each other and work together if the species has to survive as a whole” said Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar while delivering his address as the chief guest on the occasion.In the context of Nagaland, he observes that the female participation is high in many fields and in many ways the women in Nagaland are in a better position when compared to the national average.
“But then again our national average is nothing to be proud of, so to take satisfaction in the fact that we may be exceeding the national average, I suppose we would be setting the bar too low for ourselves,” he said.
Kumar recalled how the Nagas have progressed from a hunter/gatherer/nomadic race to an agrarian society and is now transcending into a predominantly urban civilization. Asserting that many changes take place as a society progresses, he underscored that it is necessary to cogitate whether the power equations in the society should remain as they were or to modify them according to the needs of the current situation.
He asserted that things are now changing and the state has one of the highest female work participation in the country. He cited that the state stood out even in a once male dominated reserve like the police force, and raised the first women (mahila) battalion. To this end, he mentioned the recent state cabinet decision to reserve 33% for women in the District Executive Force (DEF) and the decision to undertake recruitment of about 300 odd personnel from the eastern part of the state.
The chief secretary observed that debates about the demand to increase the voice of women in traditional tribal decision making bodies as well as the representation of women in the government and other decision making structures are essentially very healthy debates and they reflect the kind of changes that the society is going through. These are the kind of changes the society must address, he stated and stressed on the need for the people to keep in mind that everyone is in it together and the more they enable and help in creating requirements for women, the better the society and the state can progress.
Kumar expressed hope that the endeavors of the state government as well as the social structures of the society would continue to progress in a gender-equal society in the years to come.
The chief secretary also launched a Hand Print Campaign for the cause of women’s movement.
Speaking on ‘What Can We Do Together?”, additional director T Haralu said that women’s movement and a widespread network of NGOs which have strong grassroots presence and deep insight into women’s concerns have contributed greatly in inspiring initiatives for the empowerment of women.
‘What we can do together,’ he said, ‘is that we can create an environment for full development of women to enable them to realize their full potential, equal access to women to health care, quality education at all levels, career and vocational guidance, employment, equal remuneration, occupational health and safety, social security and public office etc.’
He also highlighted the need to strengthen legal systems aimed at elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and the girl child, change societal attitudes, move towards elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women, interpret and redefine conventional concepts of work to reflect women’s contribution as producers and workers.
A documentary offering a glimpse of Naga women working in various fields was also screened during the program. The event was jointly organized by the State Resource Centre for Women, Department of Social Welfare, Nagaland State Social Welfare Board and Department of Women Resource Development.