Staff Reporter

Meeting calls for end to domestic violence and awareness on the issue

BHUBANESWAR: Seeking a society that endorses gender equality, over 300 delegates from 30 districts of Orissa on Friday demanded for a better representation of women in decision-making bodies.

The delegates, who call themselves `change makers', exchanged their experiences in changing the mindset of people towards violence against women.

A two-day Change Makers' Assembly is being organised by `We Can Orissa', a part of the campaign in the South Asian region to end violence against women.

"When 147 legislators in the State Assembly are inadequate to stop harassment against women, we felt the need to create change makers," a tribal woman activist from Rayagada, Andhari Majhi, said.

Ms. Majhi said less number of women in decision-making process was one of the reasons for the rise in the violence against women.

Stress on awareness

Addressing the gathering, Assembly Speaker Maheswar Mohanty stressed on the need for creating awareness among all sections of society on the social evil.

The organisers claimed the campaign had built a force of 40,000 change makers in the State who had not only generated awareness but also helped in changing mindsets of people around them towards the issue.

In two years time, We Can Orissa, grew into alliance of 160 members, consisting of 52 non-government organisations, 40 individuals, 32 religious leaders, eight celebrities, 25 professionals and three corporate houses, they said.

On Saturday, the delegates will hear experience from those who are working grass-root level.