Speaking on India’s women-led development phase underlined by PM Modi, Smriti Irani, Minister of Women & Child Development said, “The very phrase ‘women-led development’ is a tectonic shift of not only narrative, but perception. Women in our country were always looked at as beneficiaries, waiting to be rescued. To march forward on the development path, we need to have participation of women.” She was speaking at News18’s Rising India – She Shakti conclave.
“We are at a time in our country’s history where we can catapult to new achievements in new areas for a greater good. Cannot afford to lose this opportunity,” she added.
“The union minister criticised the previous Congress rule for ignoring women’s issues, such as their safety as well as lack of sanitation and proper hygiene.” “The Congress government in 2005-06 knew that women were getting raped in the open; in 2010, it knew that the GDP (gross domestic product) was taking a hit due to lack of sanitation. Building toilets was never considered glamorous in the politics but now women have access to toilets. Before 2014, many people said women can’t start a business, but now Mudra has made it possible for them,” she said.
Irani shared an anecdote featuring ‘Missile Woman of India’, Tessy Thomas, when she was the union education minister and how she was instrumental in getting the eminent scientist nominated to the IIT Council, the apex body of all Indian Institutes of Technology.
She described her experience when she held the first meeting of the council, where the room was full of male scientists. “I asked them about a woman representative but they told me that I was the ‘face’. But I told them I was the politician, and walked out of the room to make a phone call. I immediately called Tessy Thomas, and asked her if she would like to be nominated by me to the IIT council. She literally choked; the Missile Woman of India choked,” she said.
Irani added, “It’s not that women of merit didn’t exist, but she (Tessy Thomas) was not in that room. Women, when they are young, are told that they will only reach a certain level of achievement, so it’s incumbent upon my generation and the one after me to recognise the potential of those before us.”
“New18’s Rising India-She Shakti” is a movement that empowers women, celebrates their saga of success, and encourages their continued progress. It is a symbol of India’s commitment to fostering gender equality and inclusivity across all aspects of society.
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