ROUND TABLE ON ADVANCING WOMEN’S ECONOMIC & POLITICAL LEADERSHIP: TRANSFORMING LIVES, TRANSFORMING INDIA

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PRESS COMMUNIQUE

CALL TO SUPPORT MANIPUR AT

ROUND TABLE ON ADVANCING WOMEN’S ECONOMIC & POLITICAL LEADERSHIP: TRANSFORMING LIVES, TRANSFORMING INDIA

15 March 2012, Delhi: A round table conference on the topic “Advancing Women’s Economic and Political Leadership: Transforming Lives, Transforming India” was held 14th March 2012 at the UN Conference Hall on the premises of UNDP, Lodi Estate, New Delhi.

The conference was presided over by Ms Helen Clark, Chair of the UN Development Group, Administrator of UNDP and former Prime Minister of New Zealand. Several women leaders spoke at the event included Ms Gita Sen, Economist, Ms Ranjana Kumar of Women Power Connect, Ms Reema Nanavaly, Director, Rural Development Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Ms Sumita Ghose, Managing Director of Rangsutra, Ms Rashmi Singh, Executive Director, National Mission for Empowerment of Women and Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network.

Mr Ajay Chibber, UNDP Head South Asia (second from left) and Ms Chavvi Rajawat, a smart woman sarpanch from Soda village Rajasthan (second from right) with Ms Binalakshmi Nepram(third from right)

The purpose of the round table was to engage in an open dialogue with the Administrator on the challenges to women’s economic and political leadership in India and to draw upon the experienced and insights in driving change at the grassroots and policy level. This was to help UNDP to build a wider constituency for investing in women’s leadership in the economic and political spheres and to bring the issue to the centre stage in policy dialogues.

Speaking on the occasion Ms Gita Sen, Economist addressed about the paradox in policies regarding economic planning and gender concerns of India. She mentioned how in the last 20 years while economic growth happened in India anaemia among women in India was on the rise.

Ms Ranjana Kumar of Women Power Connect spoke about advancing women in political leadership. According to her only 11% of women were in the political leadership of the country and suggest that needs to be changed. According to her women reservation bill was the only bill which had been torn, thrown as well as pushed around in the Indian Parliament.

Ms Reema Nanavaly, Director, Rural Development Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) addressed that the economic leadership of women was needed to transform women’s lives. She suggested two strategies to enable the building of economic security of women by building asset ownership. According to her, for women to build asset ownership two things were needed i) access to land and ii) food security. She also mentioned that the world’s largest hungry were in India and said that most of them were women.

Ms Sumita Ghose, Managing Director of Rangsutra addressed that India had a 2nd largest artisan’s network next to agriculture. She called upon the need to encourage women artisans of the country for better economic power and political participation.

Ms Rashmi Singh, Executive Director, National Mission for Empowerment of Women addressed the needs to a collective conversion in all sectors of government policies and program for addressing the issue of empowerment of women.

Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network addressed the issues faced by women due to the ongoing conflict in Manipur and Northeast India. She stated that she founded Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network in order to revive the hopes of women who had lost their loved ones in the conflict and stated how the network was empowering lives of such women economically and legally. She called upon UNDP to help support women of Manipur.

Ms Helen Clark, Chair of the UN Development Group, Administrator of UNDP and former Prime Minister of New Zealand gave her concluding remarks that there was a need to drive government into making integrated policies for empowering of women. She also touched upon the importance of working to address women and armed violence. She gave example of how societies in the Caribbean Islands California, America were destroyed by conflict and that UN Development Program was working to address such issues in this country and hinted that if government of India invites UNDP to Manipur and Northeast India they would indeed work on the issues in armed violence in that region.

For more information. please contact:
Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder,Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network
b5/146, First Floor ,Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi-110029
Email: [email protected], Website: www.cafi-online.org http://neiwip.blogspot.com/

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