ITANAGAR, Mar 8: International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated across Arunachal on Sunday with leaders and activists giving a clarion call for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Joining the IWD celebration at the Raj Bhavan here, Governor BD Mishra said peace, progress and gender equality are linked together.
“Where there is respect for women, there is peace and progress,” Mishra said, quoting from the oldest Indian legal treatise by ancient jurisprudence luminary, Manu.
“Providing rightful position to the women in the society is the national objective, and the present government is sincerely doing it,” he said, citing the Centre’s Beti Padhao, Beti Bacho programme, abolition of triple talaq, and death sentence for rape of minor girls.
The governor called upon the women of the state to fight against drug abuse, which he said “is a challenge to every Arunachalee.” He also exhorted the women to motivate and encourage their daughters to join the armed forces and the air hospitality sector.
Mishra felicitated women achievers of the state in various fields, including Taba Yall Nabam (music), Joya Tasung Moyong (social service), Licha Ampi (entrepreneurship), Nachat Munham (music), Dr Jamuna Bini (literature), and Onilu Tega (sports).
Women & Child Development (WCD) Secretary Niharika Rai highlighted the government’s projects and schemes for women’s empowerment.
A short documentary titled Bunai Ke Rangin Duniya, conceptualized by the governor’s wife, Neelam Misra, was also screened.
A play titled ‘Ek Parampara, Ek Pechan’, showcasing the various indigenous textiles of Arunachal, was presented by the inmates of the Oju Welfare Association.
In another programme here, WCD Minister Alo Libang said changing people’s mindset is necessary to achieve gender equality. He said customs, traditions and practices which are not in tune with the times must be discarded.
“Child marriage in the state has declined drastically, while education has played a key role in arresting the growth of various social evils,” Libang said, and added that the state government is committed to spread awareness on all social evils plaguing the society.
“The state government will take all steps to uplift the status of the women of our state,” he said.
Libang urged the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) to tie up with the WCD department to spread awareness on women-centric schemes in far-flung and remote areas, “as most of the government schemes do not reach the beneficiaries in those areas due to vast geographical area.”
The minister also urged the GBs to visit the anganwadi centres of their respective villages to ensure that the government schemes reach the targeted beneficiaries.
WCD Secretary Rai, who was also present, said “equality and respect for women must start from home,” and added that “preference for male child has been a stumbling block in achieving equality in the society.”
She said women should seek to be educated and healthy in order to be successful in life.
APSCW Chairperson Radhilu Chai Techi lamented the gender disparity in politics and business, as well as the gender gap.
Stating that “change is agonizingly slow,” she said that “at this rate, it will take 100 years before the global inequality gap between men and women disappears entirely.”
Speaking on the theme of this year’s IWD, ‘Generation equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future’, she said the generation equality campaign demands equal pay, equal share of unpaid care and domestic work; end to sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls; healthcare services that respond to their needs; and their equal participation in political life and decision-making in all areas of life.
The chairperson also highlighted the commission’s recommendations to the state government for appointment of independent protection officers to curtail rising instances of domestic violence, and for effective implementation of the PWDV Act, 2005, besides compulsory registration of marriage to stop child marriage and polygamy; strict implementation of the CCS conduct rule against government employees practicing polygamy; equal representation of women in the sports quota; shelter and short-stay homes for women; 33 percent reservation in jobs; soft loans for single women and widows; special schemes for girls to take up entrepreneurship; free and compulsory education for girls up to college, etc.
The Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Welfare Society (APWWS) celebrated IWD with various programmes.
Attending the celebration here, Agriculture Minister Tage Taki urged women to be bold and stop thinking that they are weaker than men.
Stating that “women take most of the decisions,” Taki said shaping the future generation depends on the thoughts, attitude and approach of the women, particularly mothers.
“It is the mother who can bring a positive change in children,” he said, and urged the women to instill discipline in children and educate them, especially the boys, to show respect for the opposite gender.
Capital Complex Deputy Commissioner Komkar Dulom said “women are known for their kindness and generosity.”
Applauding the APWWS for its untiring efforts to set up a destitute home in its office premises, the DC assured to provide whatever help is needed for the betterment of the society.
Dulom also highlighted the ‘Hamara Arunachal’ campaign, “which has been launched for a safe, secure, clean and green Itanagar,” and sought cooperation from every individual towards it.
Gauhati High Court Itanagar Permanent Bench Bar Association president Tayum Son congratulated APWWS for its work.
APWWS president Gumri Ringu highlighted the “significance of the IWD celebration for social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.”
She thanked the state government for making the APWWS part of important issues concerning the state.
APWWS secretary-general Kani Nada Maling thanked everyone, especially the members of the APWWS, who have been tirelessly working for the welfare of the women in the society.
Former APWWS president Deepti Bengia was felicitated for representing the APWWS as an observer at the Beijing Conference. She shared her experience of the conference as a member of the APWWS.
APWWS member Kobby Zirdo Bagra spoke on the need to create awareness on the coronavirus.
A tree plantation drive was organized at the APWWS office premises in Chimpu, under the ‘Arunachal Rising’ campaign. Around 150 saplings of different species were planted.
The other highlight of the day was a group dance, representing various tribes of the state, to promote communal harmony under the ‘Arunachal Rising’ campaign.
WCD Director Tokmen Pertin Loyi, representatives from the Tagin Welfare Society, the Galo Welfare Society, and the Apatani Women Association, Ziro also attended the event.
Itanagar SDPO Kamdam Sikom and the AAPSU’s women’s wing president Kipa Yanu also attended the celebration.
IWD was also celebrated by all the district units of the APWWS with great enthusiasm.
Tree plantation, marathon race, formal meetings and rallies on relevant social issues were organized to mark the day. Many of the events were celebrated in coordination with the district administrations.
In Miao, the event was attended by a large number of women. A decision was taken to launch a “village-to-village marriage registration campaign.”
Odi Tamut Singhpho read out the various activities undertaken by the organization.
Addressing the participants, EAC Namrata Bhatt said that the times are changing “but more needs to be done for gender sensitization in the society.”
Assistant Engineer Roikim Ngemu, Assistant Industries Director Youngship Tikhak, former ZPM Khorong Longri, and Gaon Buri Khatop Lagai Singpho also spoke.
The Tibetan Women’s Association also took part in the celebration.