On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Directorate of Social Welfare (DSW) in collaboration with the Panchayat and Rural Development Department (PNRD), Government of Assam organised Special Gram Sabhas for Women and Children across Assam.
This unique initiative presented an opportunity for children and women’s rights to become part of the dialogue at the local governance level.
State Minister of finance and social welfare, Ajanta Neog said, “Gender equality can be achieved by overcoming social barriers and constructs that lead to detrimental behaviours such as girls dropping out of school, child and forced marriage, violence against girls and women. The special Gram Sabhas on children and women’s rights will provide an opportunity to mainstream gender issues at the local level. This is a unique initiative of DSW and PNRD which should be sustained.”
The state-level culmination event was organised at the Rabindra Bhawan in Guwahati, in the presence of Dr. Madhulika Jonathan, Chief of UNICEF Assam Field Office; Shri Bivash Modi, Director, Social Welfare, government of Assam; Shri. Rupak Pathak, Commissioner to the government of Assam, Panchayat and Rural Development; Smt. Kalpana Deka, ADC, Kamrup Metropolitan; and Smt. Manjari Borthakur, Joint Director, Social Welfare, government of Assam, in support of the Sustainabke Development Goal 5 on gender equality.
Speaking about the unique initiatives by the DSW to address the needs of women and children, Shri. Bivash Modi said, “To sustain the momentum for addressing gender inequalities, DSW has released a ‘Handbook on Schemes for Women and Children’ that provides an overview of all protection and empowerment related legislation and programmes. This will serve as a ready reckoner for protection officials in the government.” For their extraordinary achievements, Ms. Eli Ahmed ,Ms.Jeuti Barooah, Dr. Manisha Behel,Ms. Runjun Begum, Deepjoyti Dutta Ms.Minoti Borthakur, and Ms. Puja Bodo, & Minakshi Singh were felicitated.
Reemphasising the need for collaborative efforts to address gender inequality, Dr Madhulika Jonathan said, “If we prioritise adolescent girls’ issues, empowering them with the education and skills required to realize their full potential and access opportunities in the 21st century economy, we will be simultaneously reducing the likelihood of child marriage, unwanted pregnancies and HIV infections.” In addition, she also highlighted the need for Standard Operating Procedures on Gender-based Violence to enhance the ability of duty-bearers to deliver implementation at the grassroot level.
The event concluded with a collaborative commitment to ensure a stronger future for girls and women, their families and communities, by ensuring that every girl remains in school and completes her education and develops to her full potential.