SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha on Monday called for creating a Gender Neutral Ecosystem in J&K where the women can choose any profession, job or business.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha during International Women’s Day celebrations at Jammu University

The Lt Governor was speaking during an event held at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium, Jammu University to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor assured equal opportunities and widening of women’s sphere of activities so that their special talents and experiences could enrich Jammu & Kashmir’s the economy and public service.

The soul of a country and society is poor without the invaluable contribution of women. Our collective effort is to provide advanced education, modern facilities, and support in every sector so as to enable women to make the best contribution towards the common good, observed the Lt Governor.

We aim to develop an environment, in work places from government departments to the corporate world, to engage more women in the fields where they are less in numbers, observed the Lt Governor.

There are many examples of women achievers who fought all odds and overcame all barriers. Today, women are breaking many stereotypes by doing some exceptional work in the field which once was considered being only for men, said the Lt Governor.

Speaking on the importance of gender neutrality, the Lt Governor made a special mention of Pooja Devi, the first female bus driver of J&K and expressed his happiness that women of the UT are breaking barriers.

After seeing the determination of Pooja Devi, we have decided to make an addition in the notification for the recruitment of Government Bus Drivers (which is gender neutral) and add a line that women can also apply for this post, said the Lt Governor.

There is a mindset that for the recruitment of drivers, only men can apply. This thinking has to be changed, he added.

Women are no less than men. The Government is committed to providing equal opportunities to women. Men and women both have to work collectively to take J&K to new heights of development, the Lt Governor maintained.

The Lt Governor further called for more participation of Women in J&K’s workforce with the help of Mission Youth, Himayat and Skill Development Centres.

The Government is working on the lines of Jan Andolan for the social and economic upliftment of women.  From entrepreneurship to education, we are giving financial assistance to the women so that they can become financially and socially independent and can contribute towards economic development of J&K, said the Lt Governor.

He said that women in J&K are being empowered through several government-run schemes as the changes are visible on ground and added that the efforts of different government departments and agencies to empower women are bearing fruits with noticeable changes.

Emphasizing on equal participation of women in every aspect of life, the Lt Governor stressed on making J&K women financially independent; increasing women participation in leadership roles, and putting more focus on security and health.

Underscoring various initiatives taken by the Government for the economic empowerment of women, the Lt Governor said that during the Mumkin Programme, mini-commercial vehicles with zero margin money were made available to the beneficiaries and we have kept it gender-neutral.

J&K has a long history of women empowerment. For decades, the women folks of J&K have made significant contributions to keep the culture and traditions alive, said the Lt Governor.

Appreciating the role of women in development of J&K, the Lt Governor cited various examples of women empowerment in J&K and mentioned Smt. Kanta Wazir, Kota Rani, Lal Ded, Habba Khatoon, Mata Roop Bhawani and Doctor Girija Dhar.

The Lt Governor also mentioned Padma Bhushan Neelam Kler, Dr Shehnaz, Dr Nazira, Dr Aram Ali and President Awardee Mehwish Mustaq and lauded their contribution for the betterment of society.

The Lt Governor appreciated J&K Women’s Development Corporation for working dedicatedly for the welfare of women. He asked the nodal department to distribute informative publications about women achievers of J&K and showcase their life history through plays in school and colleges.

To fill the skill gap, the Lt Governor called upon the private stakeholders for imparting on-job training to women.

Noting this year’s theme of International Women’s Day – “Choose to Challenge”, the Lt Governor suggested that Women Development Corporation should develop a platform to connect academia with industry, NGOs and Private sector and start a “Champions for Innovation” program.

Speaking on the occasion, Farooq Khan, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor said that celebrations of International Women’s Day is one among the many steps taken towards the ultimate empowerment of women.

DG Women & Child Development, Mir Tariq Ali gave an overview of the department and various schemes being run to empower the women of the Union Territory.

On the occasion, the Lt Governor also felicitated outstanding women achievers in their respective fields.

A PowerPoint presentation on the theme of  ‘Gender Justice’ was also presented by J&K Resource Center for Women and a short video on themes of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and 181 women helpline against domestic violence was also shown.

Prominent among others, present on the occasion were, Financial Commissioner, Finance Department, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta; Principal Secretary to Government, Social Welfare Department, Bipul Pathak; Vice Chancellor Jammu University, Manoj Kumar Dhar; Mission Director Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), Shabnam Shah Kamili and other concerned officers.


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