US compliments India on its women empowerment initiatives

Alyse Nelson, President and CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership with Kiran Bedi, India's first and highest ranking Woman Police Officer

NEW DELHI: Complimenting India on its women empowerment initiatives, the US has said holding of some of the top positions including that of the President, Speaker of Lok Sabha and chief of Congress party by the fair sex reflects the importance the country attaches to the issue.

US Ambassador Timothy Roemer, addressing a conference of women delegates from 24 countries here, also hailed achievements of Indian women in diverse fields and said they have demonstrated their courage and skill both within the country and abroad.

“Today the President, the Speaker of the Parliament, the leader of the Congress party and the leader of BJP in Lok Sabha are all women,” he said speaking at Asia Women’s Leadership Regional Summit that is being held to examine critical issues in role of women in economy, leadership and their human rights.

“India’s women have demonstrated their courage and skill overseas. For example India was the very first country to send an all female police contingent ever to participate in a UN peace keeping mission in India,” he said.

The ambassador also hailed Indira Gandhi as one of the first female Prime Ministers in the world who set examples for others to follow.

“India is rich and vibrant in talent and tradition for women knocking down barriers and ceasing opportunities to improve dreams for more of its citizens,” he added.

Addressing the inaugural session of the four-day Summit through a video conference, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called upon the delegates to strive hard in realizing the goals set at the UN’s fourth world conference on women held in Beijing in 1995.

“..Join us in fulfilling the commitment we all made in Beijing 15 years ago to create a world in which women have equal opportunities to live and lead to the fullest of their god given potential,” she said at the summit moderated by CNN International anchor Zain Verjee.

Noting that voices of women continued to be stifled around the world, Clinton asked women delegates to work hard in ensuring equal opportunities and address injustice to the fair sex.

Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao gave a brief account of initiatives being taken by the Government in removing disparities towards women.

The principle of gender equality is enshrined in our Constitution. We are making serious efforts to ensure equal participation of women in all the fields, she said.

“Gender budgeting is another stipulation in budget of all the ministries,” Rao said, noting that “we have distances to cover.”

-PTI

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