President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday said that making women economically independent is an effective way of empowering them. To make India a developed country, maximum participation of women is needed, she said while addressing a Women’s Self-Help Groups conference here.
“Economic self-reliance is an effective means of empowering women. Economic and social self-reliance complement each other. Self-Help Groups can contribute effectively to make women self-reliant,” the president said.
More than four lakh women’s Self-Help Groups are active in Madhya Pradesh, she noted, adding that greater participation in such groups by women will strengthen the economy, society as well as the country.
The idea of making women’s Self-Help Groups a mass movement was commendable, the president added.
“To make India a self-reliant and developed nation, maximum participation of women is essential. We have to create an environment in which women feel free and fearless and can make full use of their potential,” Murmu said.
The president also urged women to inspire and help each other, raise voices together for each other’s rights, and move forward together on the path of progress.
“Women’s Self-Help Groups are good platforms for bringing women together,” the president said.
Madhya Pradesh has a rich tradition of women leaders like Rani Durgavati, Rani Kamalapati, and Ahilyabai Holkar, Murmu noted.
The president also recalled former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan who is from Madhya Pradesh and her role in giving direction to our democracy.
Noted tribal artists Bhuri Bai and Durga Bai as well as Dr. Leela Joshi of Ratlam who is “working like Mother Teresa” are from the state, and they can be role models for other women, she said.
She named these three women, who are recipients of the Padma Shri award so that they inspire the women attending the program, she said.
“If they can achieve these laurels, you too can do that, because they are like you. You have the same level of courage and willpower,” the president added. Women play an important role in society and economic policy, and it is our national duty to ensure their progress and treat them with honor, she added.
India was once considered “Vishwa Guru”, (the world’s guide), and if people worked together and supported the government, it can regain that status soon, Murmu said.
She was happy that products made by tribal women are reaching consumers through the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED), she said. Literacy among women was increasing in rural areas which were good news, the president said.
“Our sisters and daughters are moving towards earning their own livelihood and achieving economic self-reliance. This is resulting in improvement in the living standards of rural families,” she said.
Women’s education is important because if a woman is educated she ensures that others in the family also get an education, which does not happen in the case of men, the president said.