New Delhi: Terming equality, liberty and dignity as women`s "sacred rights", President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday asked the people to reaffirm their commitment to ensure gender equity and empowerment of womenfolk in India.
Presenting `Stree Shakti Puraskar` and `Nari Shakti Puruskar` for the year 2014 on the occasion of International Women`s Day at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan here, the president said women`s rights are not a privilege that they should seek.
"They have been a key element in the codes of conduct that our ancient societies prescribed for themselves more than 3,000 years ago," Mukherjee said.
"Let us, on International Women`s Day, reaffirm our commitment to ensure gender equity and empowerment of women in India to enable them to realise their full potential and participate meaningfully in all aspects of our country`s development," the president said.
Mukherjee said there were, nevertheless, enduring societal perceptions and attitudes which inhibit the pace of improvement in the condition and position of women in our society and economy.
"These call for urgent individual as well as collective introspection. We must identify these weaknesses and their root cause. We must make the required effort to remove the structural and institutional barriers that inhibit the economic and social transformation of women in India," he said.
Giving an example, the president said violence against women continues to threaten the safety, well being and potential of women and girls across our country.
Even their perception of their respective vulnerabilities constrains their freedom of movement and access to education, work and essential services, Mukherjee added.