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International Women’s Day Celebration
March 8, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 2:30 pm
International Women’s Day Celebration at HMI on 8th March 2017
Respected dignitaries in the dais, all the bold and beautiful women in this room and my dear friends….
International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8 to felicitate the achievements of women around the globe. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “WOMEN IN THE CHANGING WORLD OF WORK: PLANET 50-50 BY 2030”.Women have a history of fighting against the odes and victoriously reigning over the dark forces of patriarchy, inequality, gender disparity among many others. This is an occasion to celebrate the courage of women down the history and to encourage many more to take up bold steps towards a greater change.
Women in India are in need of a great change. Women here are discriminated even before they are born. 7 million girl children are killed every year; Nearly 12 million Indian children are married off before the age of 10 years; In India a woman is reportedly raped every 15 minutes. There are more than 57,300 cases of kidnapping and abduction of women every year. As many as 2.24 million crimes against women were reported over the past decade: 26 crimes against women are reported every hour, or one complaint every two minutes.
There are more infant mortality rate among girls. Girls are not given same medical attention as boys. More than 50% of girls in villages fail to enrol to schools due to lack of separate toilets for them. 70% women are not part of the workforce. The access to basic things like healthcare, water, sanitation and education is denied to most of our sisters of this country. Those who have these privileges are denied the power to make choices on the other hand.
Today, women have come to a realization that there is no limit to what they can achieve. They do all those what men can, even in a better way. And also they undergo much more than a man can possibly undergo. International Women’s Day reminds every woman that they have a potential to be the next Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Stanton, Kalpana Chawla, Helen Keller, SudhaChandran, Arunima Sinha, Malathi Krishnamurthy and the list goes on.
In this International Women’s Day, not only women should stand for themselves. But also men should stand up for women. It is almost like a taboo today for a man to speak out for equality or stand with women against violence or abuse. Once our mothers stood up for us, by bringing us into this world and shower us with abundance of love and care. We are supported at every walks of our lives by our sisters, wives or daughters. Now it is time for men to stand up for women from different sections of society. We need to create a society of collaboration between men and women instead of conflict. We need to stand against injustice and violence against women. We have spoken enough, we should show it in our actions now. Men have an important role to play in sending out the message that real men do not hurt or abuse women.We need to be the ones who start the conversation among ourselves that women have been trying to have with us for centuries.Let us set examples for our younger generations. Let us set examples for our generation, and the generations older than us. Let us be the ones who alter the course of history by saying enough is enough. Now is the time for change, and let us be the ones who bring it about.
HMI has taken the initiative to celebrate the International Women’s Day by bringing together women and religious leaders. It was always our agenda to take up the issues of society to the next level.India being home to different faith traditions has a past of celebrating diversity at every level. The rich influence of religion in Indian soil naturally makes religious leaders allies in driving the advancement of women’s rights in this land. In a land where patriarchal traditions and cultural practices condone discrimination against women, true interpretation of religion has the power to break barriers and unlock the human potential. Programs such as this are a meeting point for women and religious leaders. Religions can and should play a major role to empower women and also men and non-binary individuals of society to work together for the development of society. We believe that this initiative will be fruitful. We also believe that this program will be a forerunner for many other programs in the future.