‘Time to mobilise voice of South Asian women’March 14th, 2012 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) Stressing on the empowerment of rural women, a UN body on gender empowerment is all set to lend more power to the voice of women in the South Asian region, a senior official said Wednesday.
“South Asian women’s movement has been very strong till now. Mobilising the South Asian voice for women is a priority as the UN’s commission on status of women has been given the theme ‘rural women empowerment’,” Gulden Türkoz-Cosslett, director of the programme support division of UN Women, who is on a visit to its India office, said in an interview.
Working for over a decade with the UN in New York and South Asia, Türkoz-Cosslett spoke ahead of the launch of the UN Women-National Commission for Women (NCW) report on gender equality.
“We have not invested globally on rural women. But for a country like India, we could start with steps like greater access to land, markets, better understanding of the agricultural policies,” Türkoz-Cosslett told IANS.
“Of the 74.8 percent of rural women in agricultural work in India, only 9.3 percent of them owned land,” she said.
According to the UN Women-NCW report, over a million women have been able to enter panchayats or grassroots politics in the country. The 50 percent seats for women in panchayats (village councils) in around 252,000 panchayats across the country has brought women closer to the grassroots politics.
The report, launched here Tuesday, brings into light that although much has been done for gender empowerment in India, challenges loom large.
“We have to help governments to ensure that women speak on behalf of themselves. We are also partnering with civil society for women’s movements which has been very effective in countries like Nepal and Sudan,” Gulden added.
The UN Women South Asia works on women empowerment and advocacy in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The UN body emphasises on women excluded from socio-economic and political opportunities in the region.
UN Women is working with the Indian government to strengthen gender issues in governance.
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