New Delhi: There is a need to mitigate the roadblocks which deprive women from becoming agents of change, President Pranab Mukherjee said Wednesday.
"We are today living in a knowledge society, where women have competed with men to show that they are equally gifted. We have to mitigate the roadblocks which deprive women from becoming agents of change," Mukherjee said delivering the 20th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture on the topic "Women as Agents of Change" here.
He said India needs more women in decision-making structures.
"While 33 percent reservation for women at the panchayat level has had some success, representation of women at other tiers of the government is unfortunately poor," he added.
Women have become ministers, governors, ambassadors and judges but their representation was not enough for them to play the role of change agents in an effective way.
The president said that "to bridge the gender disparity gap in our country, we require positive intervention in areas such as education, economic empowerment and governance.
"We have to strengthen the systems and processes that facilitate women to take control and claim ownership of their lives. To lend true meaning to empowerment, we have to expand their freedom of choice.”
"We need to recognise women`s extraordinary ability to influence the direction of social change to create a just socio-economic order," he added.
Observing that women-centric legislations have given women confidence to take ownership of their destiny, Mukherjee said violence against women takes ugly forms like foeticide and infanticide, molestation and rape, sexual harassment, acid attack and even murder.
This threat was prevalent everywhere - at home, workplace, educational institutions, streets, parks and in public transport.
"To tackle violence against women, it is important that cooperation of all stakeholders - the state, police and other public authorities, non-governmental agencies, social activists and the community - is absolutely necessary. A society which cannot respect women, cannot be called a civilized society," he said.