Kohima, Sept. 24: The Nagaland State Commission for Women held an awareness campaign on the statutory rights of women at Salt Christian College in Dimapur today.
The commission’s chairperson Padmashree Temsula Ao in her keynote address said the commission has been organising legal awareness programmes in the state since its inception in 2007 to spread awareness, especially among young women. Awareness campaigns have been held at colleges in Peren, Kohima, Mokokchung, Longleng, Wokha and Zunheboto.
Though laws are enacted by the Parliament and the state legislatures, its implementation is left to individual states and in some cases the implementation of various laws becomes a sensitive issue, she added
She said though the Naga society was patriarchal, Naga women enjoyed a certain status and were not subjected to physical abuse for dowry. Many Naga women occupy important positions in administration, education, medical and police services and even in the armed forces.
Girls are no longer confined within their homes but are moving beyond jobs traditionally considered suitable for women such as teaching, nursing and secretarial work. Girls are also given equal opportunities to study and pursue various professions and contributing to the society tremendously, she added.
However Ao lamented the fact that Naga men still persist in their rigid stance that women should remain subordinate to men in affairs of governance in the village councils, including overall decision-making in the family.
“And it is here that the law of the country comes into conflict with the traditional foundations of our villages.” She said women also seem to subscribe to this view because they are unable to raise voices of dissent in cases of domestic violence, unjust ruling in divorce and custody of children.
She said in many instances women are unable to stand up for her rights because of family and society’s pressure.
She called upon Naga women to assert their rights with courage and conviction and to take legal recourse when the need arises. “We have to discard our passive attitude and refuse to remain victims of our own fears and uncertainties. We have to fight for justice as guaranteed by the law of the land.”
Ao hopes that in the near future men and women would be able to work together by bringing new insight to the structures of governance at all the levels of society.
The commision’s legal consultant Lydia Yeptho and Dimapur additional superintendent of police Watichuchang Jamir also spoke on the occasion. The participants also interacted with the resource persons.
Salt Christian College R.S. Maurya chaired the programme. NSCW member Kakheli Jakhalu delivered the vote of thanks.