AMPATI, March 07: The womenfolk of South West Garo Hills came together near Garobadha to celebrate and assert their womanhood and the indispensable role they play in the family and the society on Tuesday, a day ahead of the worldwide celebration of International Woman’s Day.
As part of the celebration, an impressive function was organized by the District Social Welfare Office, Ampati at Nirupama Memorial Secondary School, Rangatari near Garobadha, which was attended by the women of various walks of life and from various communities residing in the area. The womenfolk, including women’s self-help group and girls of Mazzarello Mission Home, presented songs and dances asserting their rights and also participated in the discussions on women’s issues based on the theme “Be bold for change”.
Participating in the celebration as the chief guest, the South West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner C.V.D. Diengdoh paid rich tributes to all the women and said that the celebration of woman’s day is not only a celebration of women but is truly a celebration of humanity because the entire humankind exists because of women. He highlighted on the gender disparities and various forms of discrimination of women – in the family, in the society, in the community, in workplace and in other aspects of day to day life – and expressed hope that this celebration would serve as a reminder of what needs to be done and review where we stand as far as women’s rights and empowerment are concerned. While highlighting the achievements of women and expressing pride in the rich heritage of the State where womenfolk are celebrated, he, however, said that despite having a unique system in the State there is a pressing need for introspection to see where the State is progressing in view of the rising incidents of crimes against women and children.
Dwelling on the theme of the celebration, the Deputy Commissioner asserted that violence should not be allowed to start in the homes and advocated simple steps to bring about social change and create a deterrence to crimes against women and children that is, to report such crimes, speak out and discuss.
He urged upon the womenfolk to make use of their special legal rights and also avail free legal aid being given to them and at the same time stressed the need for giving proper legal awareness for women. Speaking about the reproductive rights of women, he lamented the fact that IMR and MMR rate in the district was higher than the national average and sought cooperation of all concerned to bring down the IMR rate. He called upon the officials of the department to note down issues that came up during the discussion so that the same could be taken up with the departments concerned.
The Director of Women’s Group, Garo Baptist Convention, Tura, Jaksil A. Sangma while delivering a powerful message to women, shared a few of her first hand experiences in dealing with crimes against women and said that three things that womenfolk must do to bring about change was to empathize with those who have been sexually exploited, pray and stand up for the truth.