Worthy judges, teachers and dear studentsToday I, stand before you to speak on "Empowering the Girl Child is the Best Way to Empower the Nation" on the occasion of Women 's Day today.I submit that a woman sits at the centre of a family. If she is educated and enlightened about everything she can take the family forward socially, economically and of course, morally. If a family progresses this way, a district progresses, a state progresses, and finally the country progresses.You 'll agree with me that such a stage of complete progress due to a woman is yet to be gained. However, I feel strongly that we have discarded many age-old superstitions and beliefs against a girl child, like she is a burden etc. Discrimination against a girl child still takes place in villages but not much in cities. Then there is a whole range of discriminatory practices including female foeticide, female infanticide, son idolization, early marriage and dowry.But as the time passes such things are left behind. You 'll agree with me if I say that today women are not behind men in any way. There are women entrepreneurs, pilots, doctors, army officers, planners, politicians and what not. They have truly shown their worth. It is all due to government policies like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan or 'Education for All '. Today 's woman has woken up to her rights and responsibilities. I wonder how many of you are aware that we have amongst us the most powerful women in the world as the President and Smt. Sonia Gandhi as chairperson of UPA. But much is to be done though we have more girl schools, colleges, universities, etc. Since women are equal partners in every way, they need to be recognized as indispensable and equal. Their being empowered will mean empowering the nation.Thank you very much.