Lucknow: The security of women should be of prime concern for law-enforcing authorities as well as society, President Pratibha Patil said on Wednesday, terming self-protection "the best" and suggesting martial arts training for girls in educational institutions.
"An issue of deep concern is the rising trend of crimes against women, in rural areas and in our cities. Families worry about the lack of security for women members of the family in India of the 21st century.
"This deserves the fullest attention of law and order authorities, as also of all members of society who must together work to create a safe and secure environment for women," Patil said, in her address at a ceremony to mark 125 years of the Isabella Thoburn (IT) College.
"To create stable societies, women need to be empowered. Societies which understand this are not only able to deal with the changes needed for it, but can mould change itself... The concept of empowerment of women would have a very big impact on society...
Terming self-protection as "the best protection", Patil advocated martial arts training in the girls` colleges and educational institutions.
"I think girls should be taught Judo and Karate to protect themselves as I believe self-protection is the best protection."
Highlighting the importance of education in perspective of the social condition of a nation, Patil said: "The social condition of a nation can be gauged by the standing and status of its women, which in turn depends on their ability to take independent decisions on various issues influencing their individual lives and the environment they live in, as also to avail of opportunities that exist to realise their full potential."
"It is a proven fact that there is a strong co-relation between women`s education and their overall progress, including their economic development. If indeed, women are to find their rightful voice, it would be possible if they are properly educated, and given training in skill building, which equips them to avail of income generating options."
Expressing concern over illiteracy, lack of access to education and deprivation, and social prejudices and social evils in the society, Patil called upon the citizens of the country to unitedly tackle such issues.
"A paradox of sorts exists as far as women in India are concerned. On the one hand, women have proved that they can undertake all types of missions and work. Yet, on the other hand, it is equally true that women face numerous challenges and discrimination emanating from social prejudices and social evils," said Patil while citing the practice of dowry, and conditions of widows.
"All these issues are very much on the horizon, and need to be handled by governments, by society and by people themselves."
The IT College, which has the unique distinction of the first Christian institution for women in Asia, presently has around 4,000 students enrolled in different under-graduate, post-graduate, vocational and professional courses. It is affiliated to Lucknow University (LU).