UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri meets with key ministers during visit to India
New Delhi — UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri met with key ministers of the new Government in India whose efforts will be crucial to the progress of the country’s women and girls – who represent over 18 per cent of the world’s women.
On 11 July, Ms. Puri met with India’s second woman Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj to congratulate her on her appointment and seek her support to promote gender equality in India and at the regional and global level, while also briefing her on UN Women’s mission to empower women.
Ms. Puri applauded Ms. Sushma Swaraj for breaking several glass ceilings during her political career. In 1977, she became the youngest ever Cabinet Minister in the country at 25 years of age. Ms. Puri reiterated UN Women’s partnership and support for India’s political leadership of gender equality at the international level, especially for the new-generation Sustainable Development Goals currently being negotiated at the United Nations.
On 8 July, Ms. Puri met with Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, India’s Minister for Women and Child Development. She offered UN Women’s continued support and conveyed the organization’s unwavering commitment to advance the gender equality, women's empowerment and rights project in India.
“UN Women is here to support the Government's and the Minister’s most important mission at this crucial juncture, when issues of ending violence against women, their empowerment and rights have been prioritized by the Government and people of India and a historic process is in place globally,” said Ms. Puri.
She briefed Ms. Gandhi on the sustainable development goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment that is currently being negotiated at the UN, and on the importance of India’s support for transformative targets identified in that and other goals.
Ms. Puri also met with India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, Smriti Irani, and briefed her on UN Women’s mandate globally. “UN Women understands the importance of education as an enabler and beneficiary of gender equality and women’s empowerment and vice versa and is keen to support the Ministry in educational programmes to improve women’s economic, social and political voice, participation and leadership and empowerment.”
In all her meetings, Ms. Puri urged the Indian government to take an active role in the Beijing+20 review process and in the commemorative events and social mobilization planned nationally, regionally and globally now and into 2015.
A strong emphasis was placed on the importance of: gender-responsive budgeting, effective gender mainstreaming across all sectors and programmes, gender audits and securing enhanced investment in women. Both ministers recognized that there was now an unprecedented, once-in-a-century opportunity to move towards the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2030, to put an end to all forms of discrimination against all women and to secure sustainable development, peace and security and human rights for all.
Ms. Puri also met with the European Ambassador to India and Bhutan, Mr. João Cravinho, and thanked him for EU’s strong support to UN Women and for their championship of women’s empowerment and gender equality.
UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director will also meet media, civil society and private sector organizations during her visit to India. On 14 July, Ms. Puri will participate in a panel discussion on the new Union Budget and its impact on women and girls. On 22 July, she will launch UN Women’s latest study on sex-selection in India along with UNFPA and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office.