Over 200 community members from the Kayts Divisional Secretariat Division in Jaffna, came together to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), at an event hosted by the Kayts Divisional Secretariat office in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This initiative is part of UNDP’s efforts to support the economic empowerment of women.
Speaking at the event, Sundaram Arumainayakam, the Government Agent of Jaffna stated that “equality for women begins in their homes, which is then upheld by society and finally translated into women’s equality being achieved in the country”. He further noted that “realizing the importance and contribution of women, there has been an increased interest in women’s affairs on the part of the government’s 100 day plan”. “It is encouraging to witness on a day such as this, women coming together to celebrate their many achievements and contribution to the development of their societies”, added Arumainayakam.
In keeping with the United Nation’s theme of ‘Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it for this year’s International Women’s Day Celebrations, the event featured Murugamoorthy Mary Calista, a female entrepreneur from Tellipallai, Jaffna, whose work has been supported by UNDP. Her powerful words of encouragement, echoing the global message, “humanity is empowered when women are empowered, it shows how much society is expecting from us women. We must use our efforts, self-confidence and intelligence. It is then that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to,” was received with much applause. Her story of success is an example of how UNDP’s support to women’s economic empowerment has given renewed hope to these communities.
UNDP’s Assistant Country Director, Rajendrakumar Ganesharajah, commenting on the event stated that, “we at UNDP understand the importance and are committed through our programmes to support the economic empowerment of women which is essential for sustainable community development.”
Reiterating the commitment to support the realization of women’s empowerment, Shantha Abhimanasingham, President of the Jaffna Bar Association, stated, “Women should know instinctively that they are equal – nobody should be telling you that you are not equal. Without leadership a woman cannot manage a home.” She encouraged women to take that home based leadership a step further, thus making a significant contribution and impact in their societies.
At the event, several female social workers were also honoured for their contribution to the society.