AMARAVATI: The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Honourable Chief Minister Shri Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh today inaugurated the ‘National Women’s Parliament-2017’, a first ever initiative by the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and the Andhra Pradesh Government to empower women in democratic participation.
The three-day event, themed “Empowering Women-Strengthening Democracy” has congregated over 10,000 college girl students from across the country along with women policy makers, social and corporate leaders at the Pavitra Sangamam in Amravati, the State’s upcoming new capital.
The inaugural ceremony of the National Women’s Parliamen saw an illustrious welcome with participation of eminent personalities including Union Ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and P Ashok Gajapati Raju, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, Bangladesh Parliament Speaker Shirin Chaudhury, Gandhian Ela Bhatt, actress and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Manisha Koirala besides 401 women legislators and 91 women MPs.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the first Women’s Parliament, the Special Guest of Honour, His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed the need to encourage more women leaders in all spectrums of work and community building exercise.
“Women should take more active role in promoting deeper human values. In all professions, we need promotion of values,” His Holiness said. “They are more compassionate and sensitive towards others. The perception of women as being weaker should change. Also women must work hard with determination and self confidence.”
Advocating women’s role in promoting compassionate leadership, the 81-year old Buddhist leader said his mother was his first teacher who taught him compassion and love. “From my own experience, my first teacher of practice of compassion is my mother. My mother never showed angry face. Always love. So first teacher of my practice of love is my mother. Then all the 7 billion human beings come from mother. all receive maximum affection from mother. Then of course, mother is a female. I think so biologically female have the ability to take care of others. Now scientist say female biologically are more sensitive to other’s suffering.”
His Holiness further spoke on promotion of oneness of 7 billion human being on the basis of mutual respect, brotherhood and sense of equality. “We have to analyse what went wrong in the 20th century. At this very moment, people are killing each other. We cannot remain indifferent to the conflicts in the world because we are all one. We have to think how to create more peaceful 21st century,” he said.
The Tibetan spiritual leader said more women leaders would make the world safer as they can ensure promoting deeper human values. “Scientists now say women are more sensitive of others’ suffering. Sometimes I express, my feeling that of 200 nations of this planet, if majority leaders eventually taken by female, world will become safer and peaceful. Look in human history, most of warriors were male, of course some exceptions but generally all trouble makers are male.
“I always say brothers and sisters. This time, elder sisters and sisters,” His Holiness said with a warm smile. “One of my commitment is promotion of genuine sense of brotherhood and sisterhood on the basis of strong belief and sense of oneness of humanity. Since its scientifically proven that basic human nature is compassionate; that is the basis of our hope. If basic nature is anger, then no hope. Now education is key factor. Combine our warmheartedness by nature and proper use of brain. In order to produce warm hearted and compassionate humanity, we must make every effort,” His Holiness said reiterating his lifelong commitment to promote oneness of humanity.
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Shri Chandrababu Naidu said, in his address, “50 per cent of the world population is women. If women are not respected and empowered, our development won’t be 100 per cent. In order to develop, women have to participate in all walks of life. Andhra Pradesh has a culture of respect and worship women. Today, we have taken one step ahead with this convention.”
The CM recalled that former Chief Minister N T Rama Rao had provided to women the right to inheritance to properties and the subsequent TDP regimes implemented 33 per cent reservation for women in education and employment.
Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kodela Siva Prasad congratulated the tens of thousand women participants in the NWP and said that the views of participants and speakers on women empowerment will be documented for use in policy-making.
Union Minister Shri M Venkaiah Naidu assured his utmost support in passing the long-pending legislation providing 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures. “With all the necessary moral support, I, on behalf of my party, assure you that the women bill will be passed at the earliest. But a mere Bill is not sufficient. What is needed is political will and administrative skill. Political parties should show conviction in this regard.”
Kiren Bedi, Lieutenant Governor and the country’s first woman IPS officer thanked the CM for his visionary leadership in women empowerment initiative and called for such leadership in the other Indian states. She further said women from all spectrums of profession must focus on taking opportunities and generating the same for the young girls. “We women are the product of opportunities. We are as good as opportunities we get, opportunities in the family level, village, school, community. If we use the opportunites and generate it for more girls, it would be a game-changer.”
Other speakers at the National Women’s Parliament were Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of Bangladesh parliament, Ela Ben Bhatt, Founder of Self-Employed Women’s Association of India, Manisha Koirala, actor and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, Laxmi Agarwal, Crusader, Stop Acid Attack Mission, Maitree Wickremasingh, a Sri Lankan academic and Professor at the University of Kelaniya.
The proceeding of the three-day conference will be culled into Amaravati Declaration which will be discussed for implementation by the Parliament and States assemblies.
The National Women’s Parliament, a joint venture by the Andhra Legislative Assembly and Government is aimed at establishing a connect between women from diverse backgrounds like politics, social sector, education, sports, industry, media, cinema, arts & culture, judiciary and students by providing them a platform for deliberations, discussions, debates, mentoring and for evolving reciprocal and continuing engagement on all women centric issues and challenges.
Tomorrow His Holiness the Dalai Lama will leave for Hyderabad city where he will lay the foundation stone for the new South Asia hub of Dalai Lama Centre For Ethics and Transformative Values. The ceremony will be attended by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. His Holiness is also expected to participate in an interactive session with the trainee IPS officers at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad.