Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will lead a rally on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8. The rally will start from Shraddhananda Park in Central Kolkata and end at Esplanade. Incidentally, Banerjee is the only woman Chief Minister in the country.Banerjee’s mission of empowering women through the Kanyashree project had bagged the United Nations award for public service in June 2017. The ceremony was held at Hague, Netherlands and Mamata Banerjee took the award on behalf of the state government. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThe project was introduced in 2013. Under the project, girl students up to the university level receive stipends. Nearly 53 lakh girls have been benefitted by the project, which has brought down the rate of school dropouts by 11.5%. Meanwhile Sabuj Sathi, another unique project of giving cycles to the students of Classes IX to XII in state-run and aided schools, has successfully reduced the number of dropouts for girls as well. Under Sabujshree, saplings are given to the mothers of girl children so that when the child grows into an adult, the parents can sell the tree to help the child carry on with higher studies, whereas under Rupashree the government gives financial assistance to parents during the marriage of their daughters. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataWhile distributing health cards under the Swastha Sathi project, Banerjee declared that the card would be issued in the name of the eldest woman in a family. It may be mentioned here that Trinamool Congress has 35.2% of its seats occupied by women, the highest number for any political party in the country. In the state Assembly there are 29 women legislators. The party also has 12 MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha. In the corporations and municipalities there are several women councillors. Even the chairperson of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is a woman. In the three-tier Panchayats, there are Gram Panchayats and Panchayat Samities which are headed by women. There are also many women-run self-help groups (SHGs) working successfully throughout the state. The Chief Minister has said repeatedly that parents should not feel sorry for their girl children, but provide them with proper education to become useful citizens of the country.