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Remarks by Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India on the occasion of International Women's Day Celebrations 2018

Consulate General of India

New York

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International Women’s Day

Women Leadership Conference

March 8, 2018

Remarks by Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India

Namaskar! A warm welcome of all of you. Today when we are celebrating the International Women’s Day. I pay my tribute to women all over for their courage, hard work and daily toil in making the world a better place. While women constitute half of humanity they are responsible for bringing up the other half. (*). We are delighted and honoured by the presence of incredible panelists for today’s conference on Women Leadership. I will introduce them later. I also take this opportunity to thank FIA and its dynamic leadership of Ramesh Patel and Srujal Parikh for joining hands with us in celebrating this important day.

1. aInternational Women’s Day is a day to celebrate womanhood, their social, political, cultural, political, economic achievements and their significant contributions to society, while laying importance on gender equality. People across athe world come together to commemorate women — not just well-known personalities, but also each woman who plays a pivotal part in the shaping of their lives. The day has come to be increasingly associated with feminism and equal rights for women. It asserts the equal freedoms and rights that women have access to just like men.

2. International Women's Day was initially celebrated as International Working Women's Day and the earliest celebration is believed to be held at a socialist political event in New York City in 1909. In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on 8th of March. This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women has captured headlines and public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change.

3. International Women’s Day 2018 is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential. UN has introduced the theme for this year’s Women’s Day as ‘Time Is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives.’

4. India is a complex country. We have, through centuries, developed various types of customs, traditions and practices. These customs and traditions, good as well as bad, have become a part of our society’s collective consciousness. We worship female goddesses; we also give great importance to our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and other female relatives or friends. But at the same time, we Indians are also infamous for treating our women badly both inside and outside our homes. Every now and then horror stories of our treatment of women assault our collective conscience.

5. The Government of India is committed to ensure Gender equality in India, with special focus on women’s economic empowerment. India has taken bold steps towards creating new opportunities of job creation, entrepreneurship, skill building and access to new industries particularly Information &Communication Technologies, through its national initiatives like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Women Helpline Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Mahila E-Haat etc. Due to continuous efforts in women empowerment we are getting some positive results now, child marriage is on the decline so is female foeticide as well as enrolment of girls in schools and maternal mortality. But given the size of the challenge, we cannot rest on our achievements and continuously strive to better the equation.

6. Our consulate is a good example of gender balance in the workplace, we have around 70-80% of our staff is female. We are also delighted to have here with us 8 pilots from Air India who have flown into JFK & Newark airports. As far as pilots are concerned we are doing well. 1/8 of our pilots are women as compared to the world average of 1/20.

7. Once again I would like to extend my congratulations to all women present here on International Women’s Day


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