Dr. Kamini A. Rao
While significant progress has been made towards gender equality including efforts to ensure equal access to education, health care and job opportunities, women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in many parts of the world. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but ensuring representation for women in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large. In order to achieve gender equality, it is necessary to build a society in which women and men share equally in the distribution of power and influence and have equal access to education, health, decent work and livelihoods.
In India, despite encouraging trends and marked progress in respect of education for girls and women, full advantage has not been taken of educational opportunities largely because of social resistance arising out of fears and misconceptions. One of the greatest obstacles India faces on her path to development is the plight of her daughters. Never does a moment go by without some form of harm being inflicted on the women of this nation. Childhood deprivation ends in nutritionally deprived mothers who are themselves undernourished and underweight, producing low birth weight babies. Thus the vicious cycle goes on.
Conferences such as these are instrumental and play an extremely important role in spreading awareness and educating the community on the immense potential for improving the status of women in our country. It is an opportunity for policy makers, professional activists, related companies, and researchers to get together and share recent innovations, trends and concerns, practical challenges encountered and the solutions adopted. I convey my best wishes for the success of the program.