Society must redouble its efforts for the protection of women so that their "talents can flower" and they can "contribute their full share in nation building," President Pranab Mukherjee said Friday.
In his message on the occasion of International Women's Day, observed every year March 8, Mukherjee said empowerment of women must be regarded as a "critical step for stimulating their full participation in nation building".
"We as a society must work towards changing negative perceptions about women. Women should be provided a safe, secure and congenial environment in which their talents can flower and they can contribute their full share in the building of our nation," he said.
"Let us resolve to redouble our efforts for the protection and welfare of women," the president said.
The principle of gender equality is also enshrined in the Indian Constitution which not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the state to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women, he said.
"Women in India have attained greatness through the ages - in political, academic and spiritual spheres. They enjoyed freedom and equal participation in public life in ancient India," said Mukherjee.
"I extend warm greetings and good wishes to women in all parts of our country. I thank them for their invaluable contribution in the making of our great nation."