Women still face violence, and harassment in rural areas, Padma Ramachandran, former Chief Secretary of the Government of Kerala, said here on Wednesday.

Speaking after inaugurating a conference on “women and development” organised by Mangalore University, Ms. Ramachandran said that women in rural areas continued to suffer.

They were still subjected to violence and harassment and faced problems because of their husbands' alcoholism. There was a need to fight for equality as women needed equal opportunities, she said. Injustice meted out to women must be countered, she added.

Ms. Ramachandran emphasised that knowledge, a positive attitude, and developing skills would go a long way in empowering women.

President of the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry Latha Kini said that empowerment of women had to happen within the family. Without the support of the family, she said, success was not possible. She said that education played an important role in empowering women.

Vice-Chancellor T.C. Shivashankar Murthy said that despite constitutional guarantees, women in India continued to suffer from malnutrition and anaemia. He said that the enrolment ratio of women in higher education was a third of the total enrolment ratio.

The former Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka State Women's University Geetha Bali said that women of Dakshina Kannada were more motivated than women in other parts of the State. The conference was organised as a part of International Women's Day celebrations.