Free Press Journal

Violence against women a pressing challenge: US envoy


New Delhi: Terming violence against women as one of the pressing challenges of the 21st century, US Ambassador Nancy Powell today pitched for more concerted efforts to deal with issues relating to the fairer sex.

In an address at an event, Powell paid glowing tribute to the 23-year-old girl who was brutally gangraped in a moving bus here on December 16, 2012 and said her courage inspired people all over the world to come together to “say no more” to violence against women. The victim had died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012.

“Every year, the State Department recognises the amazing work of some of these women with the International Women of Courage Awards. As you may know, last year the award went posthumously to Nirbhaya,” Powell said.

The US envoy was addressing a function organised by the Women in Public Service Project.

She also read out a short statement from the parents of the gangrape victim which, she said, “eloquently captures the challenge before us all”.

In the message, the parents of the girl appealed TO people to not to tolerate any “attack on your dignity and honour”.

They said their daughter’s end was “horrendous” but her case is an imparting strength to all women to fight and to improve the system.

Powell also hailed courage of acid attack survivor Laxmi.

“After surviving the attack, Laxmi became a tireless campaigner. Thanks to her diligent hard work, India’s Supreme Court has made prosecutions in acid attacks easier to pursue and regulation of acid sales more robust.

“Laxmi is a model for us all. It is not enough to recognise the problem.

It is not enough to speak about the problem.  We must work with Laxmi’s diligence and tenacity to solve the problem,” she said.

“We continue to witness shocking violence against women. This violence plagues all countries of the world, including the United States, and can block women’s active participation in society,” she said.

Powell said many in South Asia are standing up against the injustices against women but more needs to be done.

“Women’s issues, as we all know, are more than just women’s issues – they are families’ issues, they are economic issues, they are security issues, they are justice issues.

They matter to everyone – men as well as women, boys as well as girls, no matter the religion we follow or the government we live under,” she said.

Listing US’s efforts in this regard, she said President Barack Obama created the White House Council on Women and Girls to prioritise gender equality in the work of every single US government agency.