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New Delhi: India is undoubtedly a patriarchal society but is it fair to be sexist?

Courting controversy, union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Monday said that the role of men in gender sensitization was critical since “all the violence is male-generated”.


The role of men in gender sensitization was the most critical since “all the violence is male-generated. We have introduced (the concept of) ‘Gender Champions’ in schools, under which boys who have been respectful and helpful to girls will be rewarded”, the minister said in reply to a question while interacting live with users on Facebook, as part of the ministry’s ‘#100Women’ initiative launched in July.

Under the initiative, the ministry has collaborated with the social media platform, Facebook, to identify 100 women across the country who made a difference to their communities.

During the time she spent on live chat in the digital space, Gandhi was asked many questions on children’s education, health and safety, crimes against women and other political issues, though she answered only a few of them.

As for the alleged rape of two Nepalese maids by a Saudi diplomat in Gurgaon in Haryana, Gandhi said the case was an “eye-opener” and added that the central government would see what safeguards could be put in place to prevent such incidents in future.

On the implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the minister said, “We get periodic reports from the states and work with the National Commission for Women and the police.”

The ministry was also setting up ‘One Stop Centres’ called ‘Sakhi’, which would play an active role in helping women in trouble, she added.

On media sensitivity to women’s issues, she said, “I find the media more sensitive to women’s issues in India as compared with the situation abroad.”

Sometimes the media highlighted only one aspect of violence against women and gave an impression abroad that Indian society was insensitive to the fairer sex, Gandhi said, adding that the media response had also led to public awareness as well as many laws.

On the education system in the country, Gandhi, who is also an animal rights activist, said, “I think education should be more gender sensitive and certainly animal sensitive.”

Regarding the reservation given to children of economically weaker sections in schools, she said it was important to bring children from such background into good schools. Statistically, she said, India needed a school every seven minutes.

Speaking about the ‘#100Women’ initiative, Gandhi earlier said: “We all have had women in our lives who have made a difference; who have changed the course of our own lives; and who have left a mark on the entire community and changed it for the better.”

These women would be nominated on the ministry’s Facebook page. Those getting maximum recommendations would be shortlisted which would then be put up before a jury for selection of these 100 women.

To submit their nominations, people should visit the ministry’s Facebook page before September 30 and fill in the nomination forms.

The selected women would be hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee on January 22, 2016, the day when the prime minister had launched the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme this year.

With inputs from IANS


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