On Women’s Day, Speakers At SCERT Vow To Support Women’s Rights

Women are beginning to recognize their resilience: Prof Veena Pandita

By Farooq Shah

SRINAGAR- “Women have evolved, and are beginning to recognize their resilience and the impact that comes with it,” Director SCERT, J&K, Prof Veena Pandita, said on the celebratory function of the International Women’s Day here on Tuesday.

“Nothing is as powerful as calling on your strengths to make changes and then working hard to get there,” Prof Pandita sent out her message on this year’s Women’s Day that carries the theme “Gender Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.

International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 every year to highlight the struggles and achievements of women globally. The Cultural Wing of the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT), J&K, organized the event.

Multiple speakers expressed their support to the cause of women’s equality in a ‘male-dominated’ set up and vowed to add their voices to free them from the ‘invisible shackles of dominance’.

In the inaugural address, Mohammad Sultan Khan, HOI, SCERT, highlighted the importance and usefulness of celebrating the day.

“The purpose of celebrating this day is not to remember women only today, but it reiterates that their rights should be remembered throughout the year,” Khan said.

In her address, Dr. Shabnam, HOD, Education in Languages, laid out the entire history of World Women's Day.

In his speech, Nodal Officer, School Leadership Academy (SLA), Dr Fayaz Ahmad Bhat said that only three per cent of women in the 21st century have the right to property.

Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Mudassar Gul said that although there are laws to protect women's rights, they need to be implemented.

“When a molester believes he can walk out free after assaulting a woman, it emboldens certain elements in the society,” Dr Gul said. “The implementation part in the entire process of legislation is sadly replete with grey areas.”

Academic Officer Gulzar Ahmad Shaikh lamented the 'commodifying' of women, arguing that manufacturers strategically market their products by exploiting their femininity.

“We’ve been witnessing a steep rise in the unethical use of women’s bodies and desirability by the advertisement industry,” Sheikh said. “The norm for advertisements featuring explicit images of the female body has significantly reduced the stature of a woman in the society.”

Many studies, Sheikh said, have established that advertising can manipulate and distort images of women to create stereotypes of sorts.

Another academic officer, Rubeena Salma, said fathers have a responsibility to bring up their children in a non-discriminatory environment to instill a sense of stability, safety, and resilience in their little girls.

“Fathers should be role models for the girls,” Ms Salma said. “It was my father who taught me to value myself.”

Teacher Trainer, Mutahharah Haneef, said that despite celebrating the occasion for over a century now, the situation of women is getting worse day by day.

Media In Charge SCERT, Farooq Shah, while describing women as a ‘victims of evolution’, provided statistics suggesting women have been unfairly treated by their male counterparts.

“Along the evolutionary timeline, man, due to his biological make-up, pushed the woman to assume less important roles,” Shah said. “Over time, it became a norm and the man applied it on every sphere of life as he advanced further and further.”

A woman, Shah said, doesn’t need to be pitied upon but given her rightful share to sustain the societal structure in a more balanced manner.

In the concluding remarks, G M Paras, said the many different complexes worn by men and women were the sole reasons for inequality between them.

“Because of these complexes, women often refuse many benefits, believing that they are not worthy of them, and do not take on risky tasks, fearing that they will not cope,” Paras said. “We need to figure out how to get rid of the complexes and abandon these senseless restrictions.”

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