Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar

“Women have contributed significantly throughout history in a wide range of professions, from the struggle for freedom to the present. Through a variety of actions, our nation has sown the seeds of gender equality, which will benefit our society as a whole. Women’s empowerment will consequently result in an equitable, inclusive, and diverse growth story for India, according to Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State (IC) for Health and Family Welfare, who made this statement while serving as conference chair alongside Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (IC) for Science and Technology. Melinda French Gates served as the event’s Guest of Honor.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Pawar said that “we must take inspiration from the Indian women personalities like Anandibai Joshi, Kadambini Ganguly, Kalpana Chawla etc., who despite against all odds achieved stupendous feats in their fields. We must celebrate their impact and strive to do more in several ways.” The fact that one million ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers, who remained at the forefront of healthcare service delivery in India particularly as the first line of defence in the crucial period of COVID-19, received the Global Health Leaders Award-2022 in the backdrop of the 75th World Health Assembly, she claimed, speaks volumes about the significance of women’s crucial role in our progress, especially in the health sector.

Highlighting various steps taken by the government of India, Dr. Pawar emphasized that “Government is dedicated to making our women capable in every field. Taking consistent efforts, the government has initiated new programs and continuing previous interventions through its institutions, scholarships, financial support, etc leading to a vibrant ecosystem where women can flourish and harness their full potential.” “We observed that post-independence, attention was not given to this aspect of India’s growth story, but under the visionary leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister several steps have been taken. Flagship schemes like “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, Ujjwala Yojana for free cooking fuel, initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, financial inclusion through PM Jan Dhan Yojana, MUDRA scheme for entrepreneurial ambitions, Permanent Commission in our defence services are some of the notable interventions for not just the welfare for women but also empowering them.”

Dr. Pawar underlined the need to put women in the workforce on a par with men, saying that additional efforts focused on women are urgently needed for overall growth. This would be a fitting celebration of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’s golden era (AKAM).

Union Minister of State (IC) Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that “Women are taking their well-deserved place in society, and we must do away with the past hangover of gender-specified roles. In the spirit of AKAM, government schemes must not only be seen from a welfare perspective but also as a platform that can strengthen their resolve. Women remain a crucial part of our human resources as a country, and if efficiently harnessed, they can contribute immensely towards the development of our country.”

Ms. Melinda French Gates said that the “Government has taken crucial steps like emergency cash transfer through direct benefit transfer, which is a great example of gender intentional policy. The Indian Government has been pushing forward from bottom up to build a gender equal country”. She was hopeful that Gates Foundation and Government of India would work in coordination to achieve shared goals and improve the aspect of gender equality in the country even further.

Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale, Secretary Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Dr. Renu Swarup, Former Secretary, DBT, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO, Dr. Alka Sharma, Senior Advisor, DBT & MD, BIRAC, Ms Amie Batson, Executive Director, Women Lift Health, Dr. Shirshendu Mukherjee, Mission Director, Grand Challenges India, and other dignitaries were also present.

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