THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said the living conditions for women in the state were far better than other parts of the country, with lots of factors leading to the situation.
Noting Kerala has always stood for the empowerment of women, he said the state had become a model for others by implementing 50 per cent reservation for women in local bodies. The state also boasts of having the highest literacy among women and low maternal mortality, he said while inaugurating the week-long programmes marking the International Women’s Day. He also gave away the Vanitha Ratnam awards to 11 women who excelled in diverse fields.
Pinarayi said women face high levels of discrimination in society. Apart from discrimination at the work place, they also face exploitation, he said. Though women amounted to one third of the workforce the world over, they get only a meagre salary compared to other workers, he said. Exploitation, he said, was quite evident from this. The CM said atrocities against women in the country were on the increase. India stands fourth in the world among places where women are not safe. However, the Centre, he said, was withdrawing from major programmes initiated for women’s safety. The Centre has cut funding from Rs 1,000 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 300 crore in 2017-18.
Though several programmes such as ‘Beti Bachao’ and ‘Beti Sikhao’ were proclaimed, sufficient funds have not been allotted, he said.Social Justice Minister K K Shylaja said the development of society can happen only if there is an end to violence and atrocities against women. She claimed the government was running several programmes for the empowerment of women.
This is the first International Women’s Day after the state government formed a separate department for women and child development. Apart from the Vanitha Ratnam awards, awards for the best anganwadi worker, anganwadi helper, supervisor, CDPO and programme officer were also given away.
Vanitha Ratnam award-winners
Mary Esthappan - Akkamma Cherian award (social service)
Lalitha Sadasivan - Captain Lakshmi award (education)
K P Sudheera - Kamala Surayya award (literature)
Jagadamma - Rani Lakshmi Bai award (governance)
Dr Mini M - Justice Fathima Beevi award (science)
Malathi G Menon - Mrinalini Sarabhai award (arts and culture)
Dr Sharmila - Mary Punnen Lukose award (health)
Krishnakumari A - Annie Thayyil award (media)
Betty Joseph - Kuttimaluamma award (sports)
Rejitha Madhu - Sukumari award (acting)
Radhamani T - Annie Mascarene award (women empowerment)