International Women's Day celebrations were organised here on Thursday as part of the Thantedam Gender Fest – 2012. Literacy worker Rabia hoisted the flag at Swapnanagari in the morning marking the beginning of the celebrations, and City Mayor A.K. Premajam formally inaugurated the celebrations later.

As many as 101 balloons were released into the air, marking the 101{+s}{+t}Women's Day observance.

Bihar Minister for Social Welfare Parveen Amanulla inaugurated the Thantedam Gender Fest in the evening. She stressed the need for women's involvement in the public activities for the strengthening of families, society and country at large.

Ms. Amanulla said that women should be aware of the reasons for their backwardness and should be ready to respond. They should come forward to capture their rightful benefits from corrupt officials. They should rise against social evils such as dowry, she said.

The Thantedam Gender Fest is organised by the Department of Social Welfare in association with various women's organisations.

The first day of the event saw the participation of a number of women who have made a mark in various walks of life.

They included Hindi writer Mridula Garg; social worker Nidhi Prabha Tiwari; adivasi activist C.K. Janu; Sheela Bajaj of Delhi University; and actor Padmapriya.

District panchayat president Kanathil Jameela; Social Welfare Department Director M.S. Jaya; Kerala State Women's Development Corporation Chairperson Qamarunnissa Anwar; and Gender Fest general convener Noorbina Rashid were present.

‘Women in politics'

A seminar on ‘Women in Politics' was held earlier, which was moderated by journalist Veena George. Women leaders of various political parties took part in the seminar.

Actor Bhavana inaugurated the cultural programmes in the evening. Folk songs by Malapulaya Kalasamithi and Ganamela by playback singers Sujatha Mohan and Swetha Mohan were organised. Gender Fest brand ambassador actor Jyothirmayee inaugurated an exhibition titled ‘Penperuma' at Swapnanagari. Besides the products by Kudumbasree units and women entrepreneurs, the exhibition features stalls by various government projects such as Our Responsibility to Children, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Bhumika: Gender-based Violence Management Centre, Women Entrepreneurship Development Institute, and District Sanitation Mission and other organisations.

Food festival

A food festival and tribal village have also been set up.

Various programmes have been organised at Jafferkhan Colony Ground, another venue.