A first-of-its-kind conclave in India, the National Women’s Parliament will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Pavitra Sangamam on the outskirts of Vijayawada city in Andhra Pradesh capital region Amaravati on Friday. Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will attend the inaugural session of the three-day event, themed “Empowering Women-Strengthening Democracy”, along with a host of leaders from India and abroad, according to AP Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao.
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The vision of NWP is to enable and encourage social, political and economic empowerment of women in all strata of the society. One of the objectives of NWP is to generate new ideas, concepts, theories and ideologies for women empowerment. The AP Legislative Assembly is organising the event and the state government is hosting it with the support of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Inter-Parliamentary Union among others.
“The NWP will come out with the Amaravati Declaration on women empowerment at the end of the three-day deliberations,” the Speaker said on the eve of the conclave. “National Women’s Parliament will be a common platform for women from diverse backgrounds like politics, arts and culture, sports, education, industry, media, cinema, judiciary and social sector to share their knowledge and research in the area of women’s social, economic and political empowerment,” the Speaker said.
The NWP would facilitate interaction between women from all backgrounds and also girl students to sensitise the society on issues like malnutrition, social security, sexual harassment, sanitation, oppression and other gender-based problems.
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“One of the objectives of this conclave is to make young girls realise their potential and make them aware of the canvas where they can leave their footprints. Our endeavour is to enhance the network between eminent women and girl students to enable them to take leadership roles,” Kodela added.
An ‘International Woman Icon of the World’ award and 12 best young achievers awards for women in different fields will be presented at the NWP. In all there would be seven plenary sessions at the event with discussions on subjects like socio-political challenges in women empowerment, women’s status and decision-making power, building own identity and vision for the future.
As many as 91 women parliamentarians, 401 women legislators, 300 social and corporate sector women leaders from India and abroad are expected to attend the NWP while over 10,000 “socially and politically sensitive” girl students of higher education will be networked with the leaders, according to the Speaker.
Asked if a resolution would be passed at the conclave seeking the long-pending 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures, the Speaker said the issue would only be “discussed”.
“We want to stay clear of any controversial issues,” Kodela said. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Bangladesh Parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Governor E S L Narasimhan, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, noted Gandhian Ela Bhatt, singer Lata Mangeshkar, actresses Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, tennis star Sania Mirza, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus and a host of other luminaries will attend. Over 12,000 delegates in all, from India and abroad, are expected to attend the conclave for which the AP government has made elaborate arrangements.