Bangalore, March 8 (IANS) Women's forums, private hospitals and socio-cultural groups Friday celebrated the International Women's Day with a clarion call to empower women and ensure their safety and security.
Women members and cadres of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held a special meeting on empowering women seeking right to equality, education, healthcare, employment and socio-economic benefits.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G. Parmaeshwar addressed the party's women members, including lawmakers, former ministers and cadres.
The opposition party in the state also staged a cultural show outside here where folk dancers and musicians extolled the virtues of women and their rightful place in society.
"Women are no less than men. They have to be treated equally well as men and given all rights to develop socially and economically without distinction. We have to also ensure that women are not discriminated or exploited in any sphere of life through more empowerment," Parameshwar said.
State-run Air India operated an all-woman crew flight on the Bangalore-Delhi-Bangalore route to celebrate the day, with city-based captain V. Roopa in command along with captain Niranjana Ashok as the co-pilot in the cockpit of an Airbus A-319 aircraft.
The other women crew was cabin in-charge Rita Gurang and flight attendants Madonna D'Souza, Chandni Bhagat and Rajni.
Women's forum Vimochana's member Celine Suguna said that the government and courts should relook the notion of justice as "the justice system has failed as the existing laws have not been able to prevent violence from escalating against vulnerable sections of society, including women".
Students of Sankara College of Optometry staged a street play in Cubbon Park to mark the day and highlight the need for women to take eyecare seriously as only 40 percent of working women have access to it.
Sankara Eye Hospital chief executive Vikram Chaudhuri said in a statement: "Though women form almost half the population, they work longer hours and work harder than men, from raising a family, bearing the burden of domestic chores and pursuing outside vocations, including academics and jobs."
Bangalore International Centre observed the day with a vibrant musical programme, where classical musician Sakuntaka Narasimhan rendered devotional songs.
To reduce the maternal mortality ratio and counter the rising incidence of female foeticide in Karnataka, gynaecologists and obstetricians pledged to fight the twin issues through sustained awareness campaigns and highlight 'Saving Mothers' and Save the Girl Child' campaigns across the state.