Words: PRK Prasad
First of its kind in the country, the National Women’s Parliament saw over 12,000 women delegates converge at Pavitra Sangamam, on the outskirts of Vijayawada city in Andhra Pradesh capital region Amaravati.
The three-day historic convention got off to a colourful start on February 10 with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in his welcome address assuring the women delegates his government’s commitment to empowerment of women.
The venue also witnessed thousands of girl students participating to express their views on problems encountered by them in society and giving suggestions how to overcome them.
The global mega event was held to give women a platform to express themselves. Speakers addressing the august gathering agreed that ‘yatra nariyastu pujyante ramante tatra devta’ (where women are respected there lives the Almighty).
DALAI LAMA LAMENTS
Inaugurating the 3-day meet Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama regretted that the education system turning materialistic leaving out the spiritual and moral intent that needs to go with a holistic educational system. He called upon women to have a clear vision about their goals and work hard to realise their dreams.
Besides Dalai Lama, Union Ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and P Ashok Gajapati Raju, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, Bangladesh Parliament Speaker Shirin Chaudhury, Gandhian Ela Bhatt, film actress Manisha Koirala and several other dignitaries attended the inaugural event.
“The primary objective was to generate new ideas, concepts, theories and ideologies for women empowerment so that they can be equal partners in national development and nation-building,” said Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. “Our aim is to enable social, political and economic empowerment of women from all strata of society”.
An ‘International Woman Icon of the World’ award and 12 best young achievers awards too were presented for women in different fields on inaugural day.
On sidelines of this historic event interactive sessions, discussions on socio-political challenges in women empowerment, women’s status and building own identity and vision for future were also organised.
Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao said 91 women parliamentarians, 401 legislators, 300 social and corporate sector women leaders from India and abroad attended in the first ever women’s parliament in India.
“The conclave has proved to be a common platform for women from diverse backgrounds like politics, arts and culture, sports, education, industry, media, cinema, judiciary and social sector who shared their knowledge and research in women’s social, economic and political empowerment.
“Young girls need to realise their full potential of the canvas to leave their footprints on. Our endeavor to bring eminent women and girl students on one platform succeeded to some extent as leadership roles were seen in those who had that quality in them,” the Speaker said.
The issues that were discussed included suitable age of marriage for women, nutrition and malnutrition-related problems of girls, poor sanitation in schools, social development, equal access to resources and digital literacy.
Four-month-long hard work of Kodela Sivaprasad Rao and Chandrababu Naidu putting in four-month long hard work paid off.
It was not easy as the execution had to be monitored to minute details. The Speaker had to personally visit all VIPs from both within and abroad to extend invitation.
A total of 29 eminent women spoke on the first day, 31 on second and 15 on third day. As many as six crore netizens liked the speeches while 1.2 crore netizens shared their views.
In a video message Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar greeted the delegates on concluding day. “Women are a binding force in family. Their skill to manage things keeps the family going,” he said.