Bhubaneswar: There is a need to promote education and ensure economic empowerment of women to prevent early marriage instead of increasing the marriageable age of girls from 18 to 21, said speakers at a youth festival here on Tuesday.
Prof Nabanita Rath, Director, School of Women’s Studies, Utkal University, in her welcome address at the ‘Empowermentnotage’, the youth festival organised by School of Women’s Studies, Utkal University in collaboration with Oxfam India, said, “Apart from increasing age of marriage, we need to educate them and create more employment opportunities so that young women can get respect in society and live with dignity. It will also help in declining maternal mortality rate.”
In her message, vice-chancellor Prof Dr Sabita Acharya urged students and teachers to make the Utkal University a violence free campus as a part of this campaign.
Akshaya Ku Biswal, regional manager, Oxfam India Bhubaneswar said there are families where parents get their daughters married off at an early age. He urged parents to refrain from gender discrimination and instead focus on education of both the children. Education empowers women to take their decision in life.
Among others, Pragyan Paramita Bastia, Manager 181 Helpline; Dr Prof Hiranmayee Mishra, Director Women’s Studies Centre, UN Autonomous College and a feminist writer; Rukmini Panda, Programme officer Gender Justice, Oxfam India, Bhubaneswar also spoke.
Many young participants from different colleges and universities attended the youth festival which was organised on the occasion of 16-day campaign against violence against women and girls.