*All images by UNICEF

International Women's Day is celebrated on 8 March every year. The theme for this year’s celebration is ”Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”, which focuses on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

To celebrate this day, UNICEF organized a program in association with Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra (NBJK) to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in their societies and communities. 

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Speaking on the occasion, Kunal Sarangi, MLA, Bahragora Constituency said, “There are many girls & women in Jharkhand, who have done exemplary work in different spheres. We should provide women a platform to voice their opinions and opportunities to fulfill their dreams. The hope the young people will bring about a positive change in society and help create a better future for all girls and women in the state.” 

Arti Kujur, Chairperson, SCPCR, said, “International Women’s Day reminds us about the value and importance of women in our society. Many women face sexual and physical violence as well as mental harassment in their daily lives. There is a need to change the social norms and attitude towards women. This can be done by mobilizing the community so they understand the importance of girl’s education and the need for ending child marriage. All stakeholders including the government, UNICEF, NGOs, the media, PRI members, women’s groups and young people have an important role to play in this endeavor.”

Ms Kujur further said, “I myself was molested during school and college days but I didn’t surrendered before molesters and gave them befitting reply when required. Girls and women shouldn’t think that they are weak. They must raise their voice against such exploitation.” 

Colonel Amit Dangwal said, “NCC and UNICEF have partnered in the past to support the cause of children and women in Jharkhand. We are committed to working together with UNICEF this year as well specially around ending violence against children in all its forms. International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to recognize the contribution of women in our lives and society in general.” 

Ms Moira Dawa, Communication Officer, UNICEF said, “The theme of this International Women’s Day is ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’. The theme focuses on recognizing the needs and viewpoints of girls and women. There is a need to remove the barriers to women’s access to information and public services. Today we have heard from women who are everyday heroes who have faced various challenges but managed to come out victorious.”

The women champions who addressed the audience during the programme were Rani Mistri Sunita Devi; Mukhiya Shanti Kumari Munda; Mukhiya Bina Kumari; Phul Kumari, President, Priya Srijan Mahila Sangh (SHG); Mani Kumari from Care at Home (home sursing service); & Hira Devi, Member of the Pink Auto Association. 

The students from Amity University put up a street theatre and spoken word poetry performance during the programme which received a standing ovation from the audience.

The programme was attended by Mr. Satish Girija, Secretary NBJK; over 100 participants including child reporters from 5 blocks of Ranchi district; NCC cadets; students from Amity University; teachers from various government schools, women SHG members and PRI members.

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