The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that empowerment of women is central to achieving the objective of inclusive, equitable and sustainable development and it is not only a national goal but also a global agenda. He was addressing the gathering after inaugurating the International Conference on ‘Empowering Women: Fostering Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainability’ organized by the NITI Aayog and Shri Ram College of Commerce, here today. The Lt. Governor of Puducherry, Dr. Kiran Bedi, the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University, Prof. Yogesh Tyagi and the CEO of NITI Ayog, Shri Amitabh Kant and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.The Vice President said that it is beyond doubt that given the right opportunities and proper environment, women have excelled in different spheres of life. He also stressed on the need to create suitable conditions to facilitate and encourage women to have full, active and unhindered participation in social, economic, political and public life so that their potential is realized fully for the benefit of the society.The Vice President that women face discrimination and exploitation in varying degree and occupy limited space in social, economic and political realms, despite the significant progress made towards the gender equality and empowerment of women through national policies.
Mass media like cinema should play a critical role in empowering women and women should be given equal property rights, he added.The Vice President said that lack of equal access to education & employment, inequalities in the labour market, rising sexual violence and unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work remain the key barriers to their advancement.Saying that gender disparity hinders women’s empowerment and their integration in mainstream, the Vice President argued for a major shift in our mindset which would lead to a positive attitude towards women and their role in society.The Vice President said that women's active participation in decision-making has a positive impact on education, health, nutrition, employment and social protection. Women’s empowerment has a multiplier effect not only on their own lives but also on the family and the society, he added.Stressing on the need to educate the girl child, the Vice President said that rise in female education levels have a positive impact such as reduction in infant and child mortality rates and improvement in family health. If women had the same access as men to productive assets, agricultural output would rise, reducing the number of undernourished people, he added.