Social Reformer Savitri Bhai Phule, Justice Navaneetham Pillay, Captain Lakshmi Sehgal, Irom Sharmila and Justice Fathima Beevi represent the struggles of emancipation of women with their exemplary qualities to fight gender inequality.

At a conference held here in Gandhi Museum on Saturday, titled, ‘Towards Gender Justice,' the names of these women formed the different venues where various technical sessions on gender justice were held.

Qudsia Gandhi, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, inaugurated the conference and said that people talk a lot about gender equality but I am concerned more about gender equity. There is no amount of fairness.

One example is that if we take the daily labour wage system prevalent, we can easily see discrimination where male labourers are fixed higher wages compared to females.

She also cited that in the Census of 2001 women who are doing household duties like cooking, cleaning of utensils, looking after children, collecting firewood have been categorised as non-workers and equated them with beggars and prisoners.

This was the level of gender sensitivity, which was there in our society, she pointed out.

When it comes to violence against women there is no difference between the literates and illiterates as women are being subjected to different forms of violence. She asked women to get rid of superstitious beliefs and called them to be assertive.

Earlier, Ms. Gandhi unveiled a portrait of Justice Navaneetham Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Delivering the presidential address, Nazneen, trustee, Society for Community Organisation (SOCO) and former Principal, Meenakshi College for Women, said that education is the only key towards the empowerment of women and to end discrimination.

She asked the students to gear themselves to become economically independent and appealed them to make use of this conference to model them. She also opined that Burqa provides mobility for Muslim women.

Speaking about the significance of the conference, S. Selva Gomathi, deputy director, SOCO Trust, said that the conference was aimed at bringing in the question of gender equality in judiciary, especially higher level where we have had only five women judges during the last 64 years.

Different technical sessions under various titles like, ‘Women in Higher Judiciary, Politics and Governance, ‘Gender Inequality in Media,' Women and Education in India, Women and Law in Changing Scenario and Womb to Tomb- Violence Against Women were held in different venues at the conference.

Speakers of these technical sessions included Regina Pappa, former registrar, Mother Teresa's Women's University,' Geetha Divakaran, Advocate, Madras High Court, Prof. Saraswathi, social activist, U. Vasuki, State General Secretary, All India Democratic Women's Association.

Students from Lady Doak College, Mannar Thirumalai Naick College, Government Law College, Thiagarajar College, Fatima College, Government Meenakshi College for Women, Arul Anandar College and MSS Wakf Board College participated in the conference, which was organized by SOCO Trust and Peace Trust, Dindigul.

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