New Delhi: The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the National Women Legislators’ Conference-2022 in Thiruvananthapuram today . The Conference is being hosted by the Kerala Legislative Assembly as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
Addressing the gathering, the President said that it is only appropriate that the National Women Legislators’ Conference is being held when the nation is preparing to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Independence. Under ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, we have been holding memorial events for more than a year now. People’s enthusiastic participation in various functions shows their zeal to connect with the past and rediscover for themselves the foundations of our Republic.
The President said that in the saga of our freedom movement, women played a stellar part. India’s efforts to be freed from the shackles of an exploitative colonial rule began long ago, and 1857 was one of its early manifestations. Even in the middle of the 19th century, while there were only men on the other side, the Indian side included many women. Rani Lakshmibai was the most notable among them, but there were many more like her fighting bravely against the unjust rule. A number of satyagraha campaigns led by Gandhiji, from the Non-Cooperation Movement to Quit India, had widespread participation of women. Among the first women satyagrahis was Kasturba. When Gandhiji was arrested, he chose to pass the mantle of leadership of Salt March to Dandi to Sarojini Naidu. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya was among the first women to contest elections. He also recalled the heroic sacrifices of Madam Bhikaji Cama and of Captain Lakshmi Segal and her associates in the Indian National Army led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. He said that when one starts giving examples of women’s participation in our national movement, so many inspiring names come to mind that one is able to mention only a few of them.
The President said that women are shattering the glass ceiling in one domain after another. The latest is their enhanced role in the armed forces. Their numbers are rising in the traditional male bastions of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Management, collectively known as ‘STEMM’. There must have been more women than men among the Corona Warriors who guarded the nation during those months of the crisis. He said that Kerala has always contributed more than its fair share when it comes to healthcare personnel, and women of this state have set an example of selfless care even at a great personal risk during this period of crisis.
The President said that the mindset is already changing, and gender sensitivity – including towards the third gender and other gender identities – is advancing rapidly. The government is also doing its best to impart momentum to this trend with focused initiatives like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’. He said that over the decades, the state of Kerala too has been a shining example, removing obstacles in the path of women’s progress. Thanks to a higher degree of sensitivity among the population, the state has charted new paths in helping women achieve their potential in the spheres of health, education and employment. This is the land that gave India the first woman judge in the Supreme Court, Justice M. Fathima Beevi. It is in the fitness of things that Kerala is hosting the National Women Legislators’ Conference. He expressed confidence that this national conference under ‘Power of Democracy’ would be a great success. He congratulated the Kerala Legislative Assembly and its Secretariat for organizing this conference.