A woman carries her child on her back in a local market at Dimapur. (Soreishim Mahong Photo)
Progressive Naga women for wholistic contribution to society
Morung Express News
Dimapur | March 8
International Women’s Day was celebrated the world over on March 8. A day celebrating womanhood, the day also leaves much room to discuss and reflect on the challenges that confront women and gender parity despite the progress seemingly made.
Marking the day, a discussion themed – Progressive Naga Women – was organised in Dimapur jointly by the Mind Blowers Club, Ethnic Group of Nagaland, Get Gorgeous Society, Incessant Welfare Society Nagaland and Native Trax Society.
Effective Cervical Cancer Prevention with Nagaland in context also featured in the discussion. The speakers included Rev. Dr. Ellen Konyak Jamir, Associate Professor at the OTS and who is also a counsellor at the NMHRC; Amongla Aier, Associate Pastor of DABA Women Ministry; Ani Yepthomi, spokesperson of Grace & Care Foundation, who is also the director of Junior High Livingstone Higher Secondary School and Fr. CT Varghese, Director of DBIDL and Rector of Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Dimapur.
The topics ranged from finding the balance between life and spirituality, reproductive health, role of women in the present days and Naga women as advocates of change.
Amongla Aier spoke on finding balance in life and work and “our lives with God” taking instances from the Bible. “Women today are progressing and in such a time, many women find it difficult to find a balance between work and the spiritual realm,” she said.
Taking Lydia as an example from the book of Acts, Aier said that Lydia despite being a prosperous woman busy with work did not overlook her “spiritual side.” “This control in her life directed her path in life. This helped her maintain her principle and integrity.” As Christian Naga women, she threw up the challenge to find balance between work and God.
“I want to fulfil the truest and highest expression of me as a woman,” said Ani Yepthomi speaking on the role of women in building the 21st century. This, she said, can happen when women contribute without restraint. “You may consider yourself insignificant but when you contribute intentionally (and honestly), your service will be lasting,” she said.
“Promote your women and your daughters because they will go back home and promote our homes,” she quoted her father as stating, whom she said advocated for women empowerment.
Stating that all women are unique in their own ways, she held that one does not need position to motivate someone or to share kindness.
Speaking on health issues confronting women, Dr. Ellen said that awareness is a key factor that would enable the affected to battle it. Stating that cervical, stomach and breast cancer are the most common form of cancer among women reported in Nagaland, she also added that cervical cancer is known to be the leading cause of death among women in the north-east.
While cancer in its various forms is frightening, she said that cervical cancer is all the more stressful for women for the fact that it impacts reproductive health.
Nevertheless, she said that “it is completely preventable and therefore awareness is paramount.” Dried salted fish, fermented food, smoked meat and indoor smoke pollution are regarded as the major contributors to cancer.
Stating, “It is always a better choice to know your body,” she encouraged regular visits to the hospital for physical examination.
If diagnosed, she added that seeking psychological support is just as crucial as seeking medical intervention as stress could be just as fatal as the illness itself.
Learning to be positive despite the challenges would go a long way in dealing with the ailment, she said, while adding that one should not desist from seeking professional counselling and finding support groups. She said that the latter is found lacking Nagaland but not something that one cannot start.
Summing up the discussion, theme speaker Fr. Varghese said that ‘progressiveness’ involves a larger idea “about our lives.” According to him, progressiveness involves wholistic growth – physically, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally – qualities essential for us to progress as a society.
While stating that respect is contagious, he added that humility on the other would “teach us how to be a strong personality in the society.”Patience, humility and respect are virtues that would define a progressive Naga woman, he added.