Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare addressed a webinar organized by World Health Organization (WHO) on the occasion of International Women’s Day, here todayalong with Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Women and Child Development and Shri. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Wishing everybody on the International Women’s Day, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “International Women’s Day, celebrated across the world, gives us an opportunity to mark our respect and gratitude towards womankind for the unparalleled contribution they make in our lives”.
He further said, “In India, we call our revered Motherland as Matribhumi, quite in consonance with the Indian tradition which ordains high and respectable position for women in society. For us, in India, the Motherland was not meant to be metaphorical, but a real, feminized figure. “Our history,” wrote one of our greatest leaders, is the sacred biography of the Mother. Our philosophies are the revelations of the Mother’s mind. Our arts – our poetry and our painting, our music and our drama, our architecture and our sculpture, our religion is the organized expression of the soul of the Mother. The outsider knows her as India, but we know our country as Mother or Matribhumi, the land of our mother. In short, India reveres her women.”
The Union Health Minister added, “I have always said where there is a woman, there is magic. Today’s celebration is not about making our women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”
Reiterating and apprising the role played by women scientists and women in the field of global health during the ongoing pandemic, he noted, “India has been home to women leaders over the centuries, be it in the field of polity or religion, education or business. For me personally, it is a matter of great pride that Indian women continue to contribute and lead in the sphere of global health as well. As chair of WHO’s Executive Board, I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that during the toughest challenges that humanity faced during COVID pandemic times, women across the world played the role of saviours with great élan. It has only reconfirmed an established fact that when women are empowered and placed on the frontline, history is created. In fact, 2020 which I have often called as the Year of Science, and which has helped us combat this dreaded disease, has its fair share of women scientists that have furthered the cause.”
Recapitulating the government’s commitment towards empowering women, the Union Minister said, “Today, on International Women’s day, as we reflect upon the progress made in unleashing the shackles imposed over our women, I reiterate that gender equality and women safety have always been an integral part of my government’s policy making and governance. Our government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, is committed to enabling an environment where women and girls reach their full potential. Whether in science, or in education, whether in health or in politics, our Government has been empowering women in multiple ways through multiple schemes. Initiatives have been launched to bring systemic reforms at an institutional level to improve gender parity in every field.”
Ashwini Kumar Choubey said, “It is a moment of great pleasure for me to be present here to celebrate International Women’s day. I appreciate and congratulate the efforts of women during the pandemic. Women played a very important role in containing the pandemic.” “Women have played a very important role in India from ancient times. Progress of a country is measured by the progress of its women. Indian constitution has also a provision of Gender equality. God resides where women are worshipped”, he added.
Dr Harsh Vardhan concluded by reminding everyone that India believes in the magic of Ardhanareeshwar, which establishes the fact that our civilization always considered a man and a woman as equals. They are complete only when they complement each other.
Shri. Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and other senior officials of the ministry virtually joined the webinar.