Staff Reporter

Hosts lunch for underprivileged children ; urges them to study hard

NEW DELHI: Regretting that women in rural areas continue to face challenges in everyday life, President Pratibha Patil on Thursday emphasised the need for efficient implementation of laws that give women their rights.

During an interaction with a group of eminent women at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President said though women in urban areas generally had been able to carve out a niche for themselves, there was need for concerted efforts to empower rural women.

Ms. Patil said women in the country had played an important role in our freedom movement and in the post-Independence era and had now begun to make a mark in society especially through the Panchayati Raj movement.

Appreciating the role and initiatives of non-government organisations, she expressed hope that women with experience in such issues would offer a feedback on how best to empower women and work together to fulfil the aspirations and ambitions of women.

Various suggestions were put forth during the meeting such as creating a data base on women Ph.D.s who cannot pursue their careers because of family commitments. The need to utilise women agricultural scientists, ways in which out-of-the-box solutions can be found for them to pursue their careers without sacrificing family duties, such as flexi career planning, the need to change mindsets at workplaces and in families were also discussed.

Among those who attended the meeting were Prof. Amita Singh (educationist), Justice (Retd.) Leela Seth (former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh), Dr. Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath (scientist), Dr. Ranjana Kumari (women’s welfare), Prema Cariappa (social welfare), Dr. Mohini Giri (social welfare), Tesse Thomas (scientist), Dr. Kapila Vatsyanan (Member of Parliament and scholar), Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee (social worker) and Dr. Shyamalha Pappu (lawyer). The President also met over a hundred underprivileged children at Rashtrapati Bhavan later in the day. Ms. Patil hosted these children over lunch and urged them to study hard.

The President told the children that education is the key to development of societies and emphasised the need for them to imbibe good moral values.