Naga women’s clarion call for equal Rights

Dimapur, March 8 (MExN):  As 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, the quote “whatever women do they must do twice as good to be thought half as good” still rings true.
The quote was echoed by Lydia Yeptho of Lawyer’s Collective, Nagaland, at a workshop on ‘Women’s Right & Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 1985’ here at IMC Hall, in commemoration International Women’s Day on Tuesday.
Explaining the significance of IWD, Lydia also disclosed some haunting statistics of the status of women worldwide. Three quarters of the poorest are women; domestic violence is the number one killer in the developing countries and that one out of three women runs the risk of being beaten, forced to have sex and suffer some form of abuse in their lives.
The status of women in Nagaland is no different as pointed out by Nagaland State Women Commission chairperson Sano Vamuzo, Naga Mother’s Association president Abieu Meru and Naga Women Hoho Dimapur president Hukheli Wotsa, in their respective speeches.
Sano said Naga women have one common trait – endurance – and this has kept them from reporting whatever indignities they are undergoing in their homes. Giving her views on increasing violence against women in the society, the NSWC chairperson attributed it to complicity and competitive lifestyle of the modern world.
Urging Naga women to come out of their silence, Sano also said Naga women were puzzled why 33% reservation for was yet to be implemented in Nagaland. NMA president said that Naga women still have to fight for their rights in all spheres of life and that the Naga customary laws are usually tilted towards men folk.
Abieu also said that though rape cases were on the rise in the state, the authority has failed to deliver severe justice to discourage such crimes. She said the recent rape case in Phek district where the alleged rapist is still on the loose is a glaring example of the failure of the authority.
NMA demanded the state government to guarantee equal rights to women in social, political and economic fronts and also to implement 33% reservation for women at the earliest.
Hukheli Wotsa said today even educated men have become “wife beaters” and treat their women like “punching bags”.
Admitting that women may be unreasonable sometimes, she however said it does not justify violence against wives or women. The NWHD president also advocated workshops for men so that they are better educated and aware about the rights and dignity of the fairer sex.
In the second session, the discussion on ‘Women’s rights and protection of women from domestic violence Act, 2005,’ was led resource persons Pranav Raina and Liyi Marli Noshi of the Women’s Rights Initiative, New Delhi. Earlier, district sessions judge of Dimapur, Hukato Swu in his welcome address noted with dismay that until date, the court in Dimapur had not received any complaints relating to alimony or violence against women.
He encouraged women to avail the free legal services provided for them under the State Act 1987. The theme for IWD 2011 is “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.”