As a conclusive effort in preparation to the UN Women Beijing +20 Global Review, on January 14th the Centre for Social Research, supported by The Asia Foundation, hosted a National Consultation which brought together a variety of stakeholders including government representatives, activists, NGOs, professors and lawyers to collected recommendations for promoting women empowerment which will be discussed in New York during the 59th Commission on the status of women in March.
The conference was graced by the presence of Dr. Patricia Barandun (UN Women Deputy Representative) who highlighted the UN Women priority to engage with the civil society and the youth to achieve the new millennium goals; Ms. Lalitha Kumaramangalam (National Commission for Women) acknowledged the generational gap of this society and the importance to include the youth in governmental discussions on gender equality. She also stressed the urgency to promote preventive policies to tackle violence against women, starting with education. CSR Director, Dr. Ranjana Kumari talked about the incipit of the idea to involve the young people in the Beijing+20 Review process, which started by acknowledging their strong online and social media presence, a clear sign of their willingness to be socially active and keen on joining the gender issue debate.
Also, a panel of field workers, researchers and police provided insights on the topics of human trafficking, the status of minority, safety and security and the pressing issue of declining sex ratio and child marriage. Dr. Sunitha Krishnan (co-founder of Prajawala) shared her experience with trafficked women and children, and invited the audience to find ways in our everyday life to promote change. Dr. A. Ansari (Jamia Milia Islamia University) talked about minority communities focusing on Muslim women, specifically the issues of equity, identity and security, and their struggle with ghettoisation. Dr. PM Nair (Retired IPS & chair prof at Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai) suggested to put in place a security index of women in the country to monitor and evaluate the justice system functioning, and increase accountability of field workers through the creation of a protocol with minimum standards to respect. Finally, Dr. Ritu Mehra (SBN Girls College, Jaipur) reported on the severe repercussions of child marriage in Rajasthan, where she operates.
An engaging workshop followed, of which inputs will feed into the final report on the status of gender equality in India.
Dr Ranjana Kumari: “After 20 years, a review of the progress made since 1995 has been undertaken. Old challenges remain and many promises haven’t been fulfilled. To name a few: the problem of sex determination, access to education for all girl children and high rates of maternal mortality. Hopefully the youth engagement in the assessment project will lead to greater involvement of the youngest generations in dealing with gender issues, and it will eventually get the attention of the government such pressing issues deserve”.
The CSR director Dr. Ranjana Kumari will discuss the details of the report with a global audience at the UN Women Beijing+20 Global Review in New York in March 2015.
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