"We must do all that we can to revive our tradition of due honour and respect to our mothers and sisters, by doing so we will honour ourselves," President Mukherjee said while presenting the Stree Shakti Puruskar, 2013 on the occasion of International Women's Day at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Recognising six women for their excellence and achievements in the field of social development, President Mukherjee said women through their individual efforts have made contributions, big and small, to build the India of today.
Making a special mention of women in the agriculture sector, he said, "I would like to make a special mention of the women in our agricultural sector -- who are the mainstay of India's food security -- and also the scores of women workers who toil shoulder to shoulder with men in building, brick by brick, the mighty physical infrastructure of our country.”
President Mukherjee said strengthening local government institutions has brought more than 10 lakh women into the panchayats and urban local bodies. He added that though it is a notable step towards the political empowerment of women, it should not divert attention from "the most reprehensible violations of the rights and dignity of women in India by our own people".
"It is hard to comprehend that anyone who has been brought up with Indian values could engage in the savagery that comes to light every single day," he said.
"Despite the numerous legislations enacted and amendments made in the existing laws by the central and state governments to safeguard women, there is still much to be done to provide our women and girl children a semblance of the safety and security that a civilized society should guarantee," he added.