Shaken by the brutal gang-rape incident of Delhi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi made a strong pitch for starting women empowerment from home.
"Mothers should teach their boys how to respect women in their family and in the neighbourhood. Women empowerment should start from home," she was quoted as having said at the party's Chintan Shivir.
She spent 30 minutes in the meeting of Congress group on women empowerment headed by MP Girija Vyas.
Earlier, in her opening remarks, Gandhi asked partymen to bring gender issues to "the heart of our political activity" saying the "very disturbing trends" against women and children should wake the party.
In her address, she described atrocities on women as a blot on conscience and a matter of shame, and stressed that gender issues should not just confined to Mahila Congress or women organisations only.
"I must say with the greatest anguish and pain that discrimination against the girl child continues. Atrocities on women, both in urban and rural India, are a blot on our collective conscience and a matter of great shame," Gandhi said.
"The way we still treat widows, the prevalence of female foeticide even in economically prosperous regions, the trafficking of children and women, brazen sexual harassment -- these are all very disturbing trends that should shake and awaken us," she said.
"The entire party must understand them, and bring them to the heart of our political activity and change mindset," she added.