Women's movement has come a long way but hasn't arrived yet: Hardeep Puri

Hardeep Kaur
Photo: Facebook

New Delhi: Talking about how women empowerment and gender equality in the society has come a long way over the years, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said Sunday the women's movement "has not arrived yet" as it was an ongoing struggle.

Speaking at the 24th anniversary event of Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC), Puri said it was not time to sit back and relax as the fightback from the essentially-patriarchal societies was very strong.

"...don't underestimate it. It's not time to sit back and relax. This has to be an ongoing struggle, but it has to be a struggle where you navigate your objectives, fully aware of where the backlash is going to come from.

"I am afraid much of which we are witnessing today, sometimes in greater intensity here or elsewhere, this is going to be something that will go on," the minister of state for housing and urban affairs said.

Puri also released IWPC's annual souvenir and lauded women journalists' contribution to the representation of women in media.

"I think women's portrayal in the media, that projects them as empowered subjects and not objects or victims, is very important and you have a very important role to play in terms of projecting that image and in terms of difference you can make," he said.

Puri added that despite progressive laws and legislative powers, the ingrained societal attitude of patriarchy would always pose a problem.

"We have a very positive narrative but we should remember at the end of the day that positive narrative has not yet cleared the biases and prejudices, as we still have a very patriarchal society and patriarchy has a vicious sort of method of fighting back.

"You can enact most progressive laws, you can design an ecosystem based on those laws, but at the end of the day there's an ingrained societal attitude, and patriarchy is certainly one of them, and you will have difficulty in overcoming them in a manner that you would like," the minister said.

IWPC, established in 1994, has worked to support women journalists in their professional work, raising issues of media freedom and integrity.

"We have continuously worked to raise issues like workplace conditions, harassments. Our role should be significant in terms of intervention, when the #MeToo movement started, we raised the issue with the ministers and the government," IWPC president T K Rajalakshmi said.

Talking about the Corps' future plans, she added that they would continue to flag issues that women journalists face, also the challenges that the general community was facing.

The event, organised in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), culminated with a concert by award-winning brass band 'New Life Brass Ensemble' from Russia.

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