“It is a stark reality of our so called modern society that despite all the efforts, the gender based discrimination and violence has ceased to abate. Though our all religious scriptures preach equality for man and woman at every level but the truth is that the gender based discrimination and violence against women is on the rise.”This was said by Mr. S.K. Sandhu, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab, while delivering the key note address at ‘State Level Consultation on Gender-Based Discrimination and Violence’ held at CII here today. This consultation was organized by the Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (PSCPCR) and the Punjab State Commission for Women (PSCW) in collaboration with international NGO “Save the Children.” Mr. Sandhu, the Chief Guest at the function, further said that gender based discrimination is actually not a problem but a symptom of manly-arrogance, which emanates from our attitude towards womanhood. He said that this feudal mindset of male-dominant society needs to be changed. Mr. Sandhu said that the government can play a role of facilitator in this direction, whereas the collective efforts of every individual, family and society is required to create an ideal society, wherein our daughters can breathe fresh air and prosper in every sphere keeping equal pace with boys.
Later on, he also flagged off six-mobile caravans having the message: “Identity is different, Rights are one”, which will reach out to 550 villages of Sri Muktsar Sahib, Bathinda, Mansa and Fazilka districts of Punjab. The innovatively designed vans will use a mix of infotainment techniques to educate the community about the sensitive issue of gender-based discrimination. Each van is equipped to show a feature film highlighting methods to report female feticide incidences and also has a nukkad-natak team, which will initiate discussions about giving equal treatment to boys and girls.Admiring the joint efforts led by government and civil society, Mr. Sandhu said, “The campaign initiated by “Save the Children” will bolster government’s efforts on dealing with the issues of gender-based discrimination.”Representatives from Save the Children, Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Punjab State Commission for Women and District Child Protection Officers from all districts of Punjab were present at the occasion.Underlining the objective of the event, Ms. Michelle Bowman, Director of Programs, Save the Children said, “We are confident that the campaign will provide a platform to children and adolescents from Punjab to raise their concerns and suggestions about gender equality. It is a key sustainable development goal for India and through our programs we not only ensure that community is sensitized on gender-based discrimination but also initiates action towards reducing it.”The caravan launch program was followed by a consultation on gender-based violence supported by the US Embassy.
Jonathan Kessler, Director-North India Office, Embassy of the United States of America was a guest of honor, who said that Children’s rights cannot be ensured unless we stop discriminating between different genders. At the panel discussion, government representatives shared their vision to further reduce indicators of the gender-based discrimination and violence in the state.Mr. Sukesh Kalia, Chairperson, Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights said that while the government is making efforts to ensure well-being of all the children, we need support from parents, teachers and community and leaders to ensure that we root out the practices of gender based discrimination. Mr. Sumer Singh Gurjar Secretary, Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights threw light on the various initiatives of the Punjab government in the direction of ensuring child rights protection. Mrs. Paramjit Kaur Landran, Chairperson, PSCW said that the commission is proactively reaching out to women in the state to ensure support to women to deal with the issues of discrimination and violence. Awareness on laws and legislations protecting women will play a key role in ensuring their rights. Mr. Rajwinder Singh Gill Deputy Director, Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights also addressed the gathering.