Helsinki: The Indian society has undergone a transformation after the December 16 gang-rape case, but still there is lot be done to achieve the complete equality for women status, former Finland President Tarja Halonen has said.
"It was a tragic incident. But the way government offered support and people came on streets to protest was something which wasn`t often seen in India before. It was definitely an eye opener," she told a group of visiting foreign journalists.
The number of rape cases and crime against women do exist but the mechanism to deal with them and the reaction of the society towards them has definitely undergone a transformation, said Halonen, the first woman president of Finland serving from 2000 to 2012.
The 23-year-old girl was raped by six people in a moving bus in New Delhi on the night of December 16. The victim later died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, sparking street protests in many cities across India.
"The position of women in the Indian society has changed over the years. But still there is lot be done to achieve the complete equality for women status. They can explore more international collaborations as well which will be helpful in decision making issues," said Halonen, who is also a member of the Council of Women World Leaders.
She said the basic education schemes, family planning initiatives and maternal healthcare are some of the issues in which India has progressed a lot.
"Girls have been more than interested to educate themselves," she said.
Halonen said, "The equality for women has penetrated into the society to an extent. Things have changed, people have changed, politicians have changed too and it`s a good sign."