Chief minister, Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday expressed concern over safety of women in the wake of several reports of atrocities nationwide.
He said the gender gap between men and women needs to be bridged, so as to make women socially and economically well-off.
"There is need for safety of women as they are still subjected to atrocities," the chief minister said while speaking in a seminar jointly organised here by the Himachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (HPCW) and the National Commission for Women (NCW) here.
He said that women are the most important pillar of the society and deserve our respect and honour.
"The state government is committed to the welfare of womenfolk and numerous measures have been initiated for providing them a status at par with men," Virbhadra Singh said.
Stressing the need for ensuring quality education to girls, he said, "There is no gift more powerful than providing value-based education to girls. An educated girl grows to be an educated woman thereby resulting into formation of a healthy society".
He said that empowering women socially and economically was the aim of the government and free education was being provided to the girls up to university level and the decision to this affect was taken during the previous Congress regime in the state.
"It would be difficult for India to prosper as a nation till women are not given adequate place and respect which they deserve in the society", said the chief minister.
He further said that the belief that men are superior to women should be shunned as they are equal to men in all spheres. "To make them more empowered and self-sufficient the state, the government has ensured 50% reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies," he added.
Meanwhile, social justice and empowerment minister, Col Dhani Ram Shandil, said that women empowerment and growth was the most essential issue of today's world.
He said, "The socio-economic and geographical condition of the Himalayan region also seems to be responsible for gender inequality. Now, the thinking of the society is changing and the gap between men and women is diminishing.
Earlier, HPSCW, Janeb Chandel, honoured the chief Mminister and also spoke about the steps being taken by the commission for the welfare of women. She also demanded that more women be included in the Tribal Advisory Council.
Preserve our culture: NCW chairperson
National Commission for Women chairperson, Mamta Sharma said that it was a matter of concern that the people in India are adopting the western trends whereas the need of the hour was to preserve our culture and customs.
She stressed the need for technological empowerment of women, besides ensuring the socio-economic equality in Himalayan region.
She also called for fighting social evils that affect women, may it be dowry, child marriage, rape or domestic violence. She also denounced sexual violence at work place and said steps must be taken to curb this menace.