A one day national conference was held at Stella Maris College in Chennai on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, in which Nandini Azad, President of WWF and ICNW delivered the inaugural address on the theme ‘Gandhi and the empowerment of women’.
Dr Azad said grassroot movement of the Working Women’s Forum (India) and Indian Co-operative Network for Women was close to Gandhi’s perception of Women. The two bodies represent 6,00,000 poor women members in 3 states of South India and provides need-based services that include credit, loan for entrepreneurship, she added.
In her speech she said “As we stand in the threshold of celebrating the 150th Gandhi Jayanti, it is momentous that his name is a byword globally owned by all for the values he stood for. An apostle of peace, Satyagraha and Ahimsa.
Lauding him, our country is often referred to as the land of the Mahatma. The Status of Women in India has been subject to many upheavals/changes over the past few millennia. From equal status with men in ancient times, through the mezzo level stagnation in the medieval period, to the promotion of equal rights by several reformers during modern times.
Constitutional reforms of post-independence and regulatory/legal systems provided a further transformation of women’s status. Mahatma Gandhi is indeed the tallest of them all with impact that has been most significant for Women in Independent India, she underlined.
Women under his aegis took a landmark step towards re-establishing their identity in the society. Gandhi’s inspiring ideologies boosted their morale and helped them to rediscover their self-esteem. Not only there was a general awakening among the women, but under Gandhi’s leadership, they entered into the national mainstream, taking parts in the National Movements.
Dr. Nandini Azad thanked the organizers, audience, media and wishing the students (1000) for their bright future by advocating them to follow the Gandhian thoughts. Then the event concluded with the vote of thanks delivered by Ms.Aarti Santhanam, Head of the Department of International Studies towards Dr. Azad and other resource persons in the one day national seminar.
Dr Azad has the distinction in half a century to be worldwide the only Woman Co-operator to be elected to senior leadership of both the oldest and largest International Cooperative Unions/Alliances, reads a press release sent by WWF.
She is currently elected Chairperson of the International Cooperative Alliance – Asia Pacific (ICA-AP) Women’s Committee and First Woman Board member in 50 years elected, to the International Raiffeisen Union board (IRU) (the oldest cooperative union in the world) to the gatherings. Dr. Azad, being the alumni of Stella Maris College, shared her journey and the transformation from an average student to the destiny of extraordinary.