Aligarh: “The Panchayati Raj system gives women 1/3 representation in governance, yet in several states of India, husbands and fathers continue to hold power meant to be in the hands of women. It makes the empowerment of women a tough challenge in a patriarchal and male-dominant society”, said Justice KG Balakrishnan, former Chief Justice of India and former Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, while addressing a National Webinar on “Women Empowerment and Gender Justice in India: Issues and Challenges”, organized by Dr Ambedkar Chair of Legal Studies & Research, Department of Law, Aligarh Muslim University, in collaboration with Dr Ambedkar Foundation, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.
Justice Balakrishnan stressed the need for a holistic approach for the upliftment of women in diverse fields of politics, education and economy. He said women must be given their due share in decision making of the State to ensure gender justice in society. He said that this should be a continuous discourse for equality and an endless struggle against all kinds of injustices.
Addressing the participants, AMU Vice Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor drew a parallel between the condition of women in the western countries and that of the developing or under-developed nations. “A lot has been done and a lot needs to be done to achieve the goal of women empowerment and gender justice in our country”, said Prof Mansoor while appreciating the role of women leaders who headed countries during and before the outburst of COVID-19 Pandemic. He mentioned various programmes taken up by AMU’s Centre for Women Studies in its drive to promote gender equality.
Guest of Honour, Dr Debendra Prasad Majhi, Director, Dr Ambedkar Foundation, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said that the Foundation was established to promote legal studies and research and to spread Dr Ambedkar’s ideas and thoughts in India and abroad. He provided details of various welfare schemes, awards and academic programmes undertaken by the foundation. He said that the AMU Chair was started in 1992 for legal studies and research and it has succeeded in fulfilling its goals. He appreciated the role of Dr Ambedkar Chair and Department of English for taking up the translation project of Dr Ambedkar’s speeches and writings from English to Urdu language.
Programme Director and In-Charge, Dr Ambedkar Chair, Prof Javaid Talib said that more than 140 abstracts were received for the webinar and 38 papers were selected for presentation. The selected research papers will be published in the journal “Quest for Justice” or in a book carrying an ISBN number
Prof Zaheeruddin, Chairman, Department of Law inaugurated the webinar, while the technical sessions were chaired and co-chaired by Prof Mohammad Ashraf and Mr Mohammad Nasir, respectively.
Prof V Tayal (Former Vice-Chancellor, MGS University, Bikaner, Rajasthan), Prof Tabrez Ahmad (Pro-Vice Chancellor, GD Goenka University, Sohna, Haryana), Prof Azra Musavi, Director, Advanced Centre for Women’s Studies and Prof Eqbal Hussain (Dean, Faculty of Law, Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi) were the resource persons.
The presentations were made from different parts of the country and from across borders including from states like Jammu & Kashmir, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab, UP, Delhi and countries like New Zealand etc.
Prof Mohammad Tariq, Programme Convener presented a comprehensive report of the event and Prof Mohd Shakeel Ahmed Samdani, Dean, Faculty of Law proposed a vote of thanks.