Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla on Thursday said the best of human virtues, including love, care, compassion, tolerance, concern and forgiveness have found expression in one individual–‘Woman’.
Speaking on the occasion of the International Women’s Day at Raj Bhawan here, the Governor said, ”Over the decades, the objective of Women’s Day celebration has evolved and embraced culture and ethnicity to emerge as a celebration of appreciation, respect and love towards women.”
The Governor said that this year, the IWD comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice.
This has taken the form of global marches and campaigns, including #MeToo and #TimesUp in the United States of America and their counterparts of other countries, on issues ranging from sexual harassment and femicide to equal pay and women’s political representation, the Governor said.
She appealed to all to join together to translate the momentum into action, empower women in all settings, rural and urban and celebrate the activists, who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realise their full potential.
Heptulla said there was need to build a healthy society, remove age-old gender biases in educational, health, social, legal and economic sectors, adding that women must be recognised and accepted as an independent social actor.
According to Dr Heptulla, it is a sad narrative that the role of women in the household and family care is often taken for granted without commensurate social recognition.
“There is a tendency to undermine women as an independent player in economic, political or social sectors. These attitudes stem from the traditional stereotypes and even in democratic societies, women still suffer from the historical drawbacks,” she added.
Dr Heptulla said empowering women in India is important to ensure a level playing field and for this, gender equality is the first step.
The Governor said women in Manipur, as in some other north-eastern states, are traditionally better placed in the social rung than their counterparts in other parts of the country.
“They have grown up in a more liberal society, facing less hostile challenges unlike in a male dominant environment. They have had more economic independence, even supporting the family without help from the male members
“Ima Keithel is a glaring example of the economic independence of women in Manipur,”she pointed out.