Hyderabad: Women in India would remain backward until they are not socially empowered, Prof Susheela Kaushik, eminent social scientist said on Monday. Speaking at the inaugural session of national seminar on ‘Re-thinking Empowerment: Gender and Development in India’ at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Prof Kaushik said, “as long as woman remains socially backward the slogan of her empowerment in politics, economy and education would remain meaningless.”
The two-day seminar is being organized by the Department of Women Studies in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi. Dr Aslam Parvaiz, Vice Chancellor, presided over the event.
Prof Kaushik who is considered an authority on women studies, regretted that the subject has been badly neglected in the country at a time the problems related to women are on the rise. “Have justice been done to women? Have their problems been resolved? We need to look at the gender issue afresh to find out where we stand and what is the way forward,” she averred. Giving the background she said that Panchayat Raj Act was amended during Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to give more powers to women but that did not help much. “Look at the Khap Panchayat. Which one is more powerful–Panchayat Raj or Khap Panchayat?” she asked and added that the gender empowerment does not mean fight against men. It is struggle against dominance of one gender over the other.
Dr Aslam Parvaiz, in his presidential remarks, gave example from botany to buttress his point that female play the central role in plant growth. The Vice Chancellor underscored the need to focus on value based education. According to social and economic indices, he said, the country has been witnessing progress. At the same time there is a marked decline in morals. “No movement can succeed without women playing a pivotal role. Mother has to teach her daughter that she is no commodity. She should teach the son to respect woman. Justice gives way to justice and injustice to injustice. We need to change our outlook in regard to empowerment of women,” he said.
Prof. Shahida Murtuza, Seminar Coordinator and Head Department of Women Studies, introduced the subject as well as the guests to the audience. She lamented that in spite of tall claims the women continues to suffer violence.
Dr Amrendra Pani, Seminar Convener, (AIU) welcomed the audience, while Dr Afroz Alam, Head Department of Political Science, conducted the programme. Dr Parveen Qamar, Assistant Professor Department of Women Studies proposed the vote of thanks.