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Don Bosco Development Society Celebrates Women's Day

By By Mahesh Kumar
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Mumbai, Mar. 12. International Women's Day was celebrated by Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) on March 7, 2013 at Matunga, Mumbai. The theme chosen for the occasion was 'Women's Security'. It was an apt theme, given the fact that women's security has indeed become a critical concern in our country.  The United Nations too has proposed a similar theme for Women's Day this year: ''A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.''
The programme, which began at 3.30 pm, witnessed the participation of over five hundred women from the various slum communities where DBDS works. The Guests of Honour for the afternoon were Ms. Roswitha Maus, Projects Manager, Don Bosco Mondo; Advocate Pooja Kute, Legal Consultant, Majlis; Ms. Khatoon Shaikh, Convener, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan; and Ms Poonam Sinha, Sr. Manager, Bank of India. The programme began with these guests lighting the lamp, after which there was a prayer dance by a group of SHG women.

Addressing the gathering, Ms. Khatoon Shaikh highlighted the shortcomings in our police and judicial systems, which negatively impact women's security. She shared her own experience of how women are mistreated at police stations, as well as how police refuse to register a FIR when the women go to lodge a complaint. She complemented DBDS for educating women in slum communities on the various provisions of the law.

Adv. Pooja Kute focused on the discriminatory attitudes and practices in Indian families, and the widespread phenomenon of domestic violence.  She touched upon several provisions of the 'Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act' and encouraged the women present to familiarize themselves with this law. Ms. Poonam Sinha spoke on the economic empowerment of women and how economic independence enhances women's security.

Besides the speeches, various cultural items were also staged. A group of students from Rizvi College performed a skit on female foeticide, dowry, domestic violence and gender discrimination in Indian society. Different SHGs presented dances and folk songs, which added a festive mood to the occasion. The programme concluded at 6.30 p.m. with a vote of thanks by a DBDS staff member.
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