National Women’s Summit with a theme “Women’s Development to Women-Led Development” kicked off

Women of Royal Dyansty were totally empowered at that time: Chitra Madhavan, Renowned Historian Hyderabad, February, 2018, Dont send your daughters as dependent to husband’s house. Give them liberally income generating properties and not a sofa or refrigerator. Daughters must get their share in the property on par with the sons. We have more stringent lawas. Whatever and however stringent laws you make, you can’t stop dowry deaths. Just give them their due share in the property. That will help address the menace of dowry in this country said Madhu Kishwar, renowned journalist and noted social activists

She was addressing the 500 plus gathering of women at the National  Women Summit being organised by Pragna Bharathi, a well-known NGO,  for prominent think-tank of India and a pioneering intellectual movement.


Madhu Kishwar was one of the many speaker who were invited to address the gathering at this 3 days conference at being held at Shilpakala Vedika at Madhapur.


Speaking further, Madhu Kishwar said, i sued to boycott Dowry Weddings.  In the 13 years i have only attended two marriages. That too they were marriages of my brothers. Rest i didn’t because there was no wedding without dowry, she informed. 


Parents must give inheritance rights to their daughter.  Your rights become meaningful, when everyone celebrates, she said.  Don’t send them to their in laws homes as dependents.  Courts or just making stringent laws won’t solve this problem.  NT  Rama Rao was the first Chief Minister in India to amend Hindu Success Act to give rights in property to daughters, she informed.

Can you abolish Dowry without inheritance Right, she asked her audience. 

Draconian Laws have their share of disadvantages. The corrupt government officials, advocates, women misuse them, she said.  She gave an example of how Nisha Sharma misused such draconian laws and became a celebrity overnight.  But subsequently it proved otherwise. The phony laws produce phony heroines, she said.  

Most of our laws suffer from Common Malady. There is a huge gap between promise and deliver, she added.  498 A act is termed as Legal Terrorism she said. 

She asked her audience to raise hands as to how many of them read various women centric laws such as Rap Law, Anti Dowry Law, Domestic Violence etc. But, her utter surprise, only handful of women raised their hands.  Government has passed many laws in your protection and don’t event read them, she told them. 

Delivering her keynote address “ Tracing the empowered woman through ancient India” renowned historian, Chithra Madhavan said women of Royal Dynasty were totally empowered at that time.  All through the various phases of ancient Indian history were honoured, she said and showed many such examples such as Rudramadevi, though born woman became a king Rudradeva. 

Marco Polo who visited the Kakatiya kingdom siad to have been found it hard to believe that a woman had inherited her father's throne.  Women from Ancient time had power. Such women lived in our country she informed.

When a delegate asked how we can make our young girls know that such women existed in India, she said, many lesser known stories must be made part of our text books.  Other countries project their women and history.  Cleopatra, the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingodm of Egypt is a household name across the country. Unfortunately we Indians, don’t highlight such brave women of our country he said. It is our fault she said.



Women’s contribution to the society and the nation has been significant and also raising significantly over the decades.  Today more women are entering the workforce since independence whether in the organised, semi-organised sectors of the industry informed Dr. Rekha Pande,  the Conference Chair gave an overview of Pre-Summit Events. 


Speaking further she said, India is the second highly populated country of world and has consequently a big labour force. Women constitute nearly a third of the workforce in India. As per Census 2011, workers constitutred 39.79 per cent of total population whereas the ratio of female workers was 25.51 per cent.  Of the 185 nations that are part of the ILO database, 114 countries have recorded an increase in the proportion of women in the workforce.  41 countries have recorded the decline  and India is at the forefront. 

Well known spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar; Union Minister for Railways and Coal-Piyush Goyal; well known Supreme Court Advocate and BJP National Spokesperson and MP from high profile New Delhi Constituency—Menakshi Lekhi; first women Parliament from Telangana Kalvkunta Kavitha and former Union Minister D. Purandeswari  are expected to grace this first of its kind and high profile National Women’s Summit in next two days.  While some speakers are expected to address in person and others through Skype.  More than 1000 women delegates from across India are expected to take part and deliberate in the Summit.  The theme of the summit is very refreshing “Women’s Development to Women-Led Development.” 


The Summit brings together professionals of diverse backgrounds and experiences with a common desire to bring in a change in the societal mindset by creating an interactive forum for dialogue and insight on trends and topics that directly influence and affect women.


The speakers include Shazia Ilmi, a social activist, and politician, former television journalist and anchor at Star News and the spokesperson for India Against Corruption movement led by Anna Hazare.


Missile Scientist and Project Director for Agni-IV Missile in Defence Research and Development Organisation who has the distinction of being the first woman scientist to head a missile project in India, Tessy Thomas is the other speaker.  She is known as the “Missile Woman of India” is the other keynote speaker. 


The other speakers include Sangita Reddy, Joint MD of Apollo Hospitals Group; Shefali Vaidya, Freelance Writer and Columnist; Sonal Mansingh, Padmabhushan Awardee and Leading Exponent of Odissa Dance; Chitra Madhavan, Renowned Historian; Shamika Ravi, Member of Economic Advisory Council of India; Rekha Pande, Prof at Dept of Women Studies, University of Hyderabad; Uma Devaguptapu, Director-HR, Asia-Pac & MEA at Signode Industrial Group; Ananda Shankar Jayant, Padma Shri Awardee and Leading Exponent of Bharatanatyam; Anuradha Goyal, Renowned Travelloger and others. 


The six main subjects of the Summit include Industrialization and Women; Women-Led Development; Women and Employment Opportunities; Women in Leadership; Their Rights and What Women Deserve.  These are the main focus areas.  

Parallel to the Summit, a Trade Fair is also organsied.  On the eve of the summit, a Short FilmCompetition, Poster Competition is also being held.


The Summit will have panel discussions, concurrent sessions,expert talks and cultural events.  

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