Education key to women's empowerment

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: Increased education of women can reduce infant mortality, malnutrition and gender disparity in admissions at primary level, M.M. Rajendran, former governor of Orissa, quoting a World Bank study, said.

Speaking at the celebration of Children's Day and Indira Gandhi's birth anniversary on Saturday at the Women's Voluntary Service (WVS), he said it was fitting to celebrate the events together since the well being of women and children is closely linked.

Stipends distributed

The assistant director of the WVS, Sarojini Varadappan, distributed stipends for a three-month tailoring course and tailoring kits to 25 women. Susheela Rajendran, activist, distributed financial assistance to two destitute women and uniforms to 37 children.

Prizes for the winners of contests held for children of the 33 cr�ches run by the organisation and scholarships for 76 college students were given away on the occasion. Former M.P. Vyjayanthimala Bali told the gathering about Indira Gandhi's fondness for children. Among those who spoke was the WVS secretary, Mano Bhaktavasalam.

Mr. Rajendran said the government needed to accept the importance of access to healthcare for rural women.

He praised the Self Help Groups for enabling economic empowerment and having a far higher rate of loan repayment than big industries.

The Grameen Bank and free education for women till class ten were two reasons for the infant mortality rate of Bangladesh falling below India's, he said.