India needed to take urgent steps to make women as equal partners in the society and eliminate gender inequality, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed stated in Nevada (USA) in his International Women's Day message.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that lesser gender gaps would also bring prosperity and economic competitiveness to the country besides fairness. Men and women were equal in the eyes of God, Zed noted.
Rajan Zed pointed out that India ranked at 101 out of total 136 listed countries in The Global Gender Gap Report 2013 of World Economic Forum. Even Cameroon, Maldives, Indonesia, Bhutan, Angola, Kenya, Ghana and Bangladesh ranked higher than India.
It was blight on a country, which prided herself on having joined the league of hottest growth economies, Zed said.
Rajan Zed indicated the need of promoting female literacy in India. According to last census, the male literacy rate is 82.1% and that for females is 65.5 %, showing a gap of 16.6 percentage points between the sexes at the national level.
Quoting scriptures, Zed pointed out that ancient Manusmriti said: Where women are revered, there the gods are pleased; where they are not, no rite will yield any fruit. Number of Rig-Veda (oldest existing scripture of mankind) hymns were said to be composed by women, and Aditi, who was sometimes referred as mother of the gods, found mention in Rig-Veda as a goddess.
Continuing indifference to the maltreatment of women was not acceptable in the 21st century world. India needed to focus on urgent upliftment of women, forgetting her political battles. A strong political will and some serious and durable systemic reforms were urgently needed in this direction, Rajan Zed added.
Zed argued that although India was on track to become a global power, but her new power and prosperity had remained evasive for many, especially women. Despite economic miracle, women in India continued to face inequalities in opportunities which blocked them from fully participating in the growth process.
Rajan Zed further said: India needed to empower her women; provide them better treatment under the law, better access to health-education-politics, and more opportunities for workplace participation; and open up more economic potentials for them.