Centre for Social Research (New Delhi) supported by Asia Foundation, collaborated with Department of Economics, Vimala College(Calicut University, Thrissur) and organised ‘Youth Contribution to The Beijing+20 Review Debate’ on Wednesday 5th November 2014 in the New Seminar Hall of the College. Students from departments of Economics, Sociology, Women’s Studies and Master of Social Work and few students from Dr. John Mathai Centre also participated in the consultation. This youth consultation sought participation of India’s youth in analysing and assessing of the progress that has been made in the area of women empowerment since the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995, in preparation to the Beijing+20 Review Conference in March 2015.
Professor and Head of the Department of Economics Ms. Lousie welcomed the audience for the programme. This was followed by introduction of Centre for Social Research (leading Gender Rights organisation) and the engagement of the organisation in Beijing by Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai (Board Member, Centre for Social Research). Dr. Rajini.R. Menon (Centre for Social Research) spoke on the necessity of engaging the youth in the review process after 20 years, since Beijing 1995. A video clip from Dr. Ranjana Kumari (Director Centre for Social Research) set the platform form for the programme. Dr. Lakshmy Devi Pillai (Gender expert) detailed on the 12 critical areas of concern.
The students participated in the group discussion around gender equality, focusing on the 12 critical areas of concern of the Platform for Action. The group discussions were facilitated by DR. Vimala (Professor, Vimala College), Dr. Shinju (Professor,Vimala College) and Dr. Bindu Varghese (Research Officer, Kerala State Planning Board).
The youth at Vimala College, Calicut University raised the necessity of changing patriarchal mindsets as they still encounter difficulties in moving out for higher studies and for entering job market inspite of equal accademic qualification of their spouse. The students laid thrust on improving the gender sensitivity of media which has a large outreach. It was highlighted that men should be a part of any discussion on women’s issues. Misinterpretation of religious texts is hampering efforts to bring gender equality. The recommendation by the students also mentioned the calculation of women’s contribution to unpaid care work in national income accounting. Emphasis was also laid on press awareness of women-specific legislation (particularly Domestic Violence) at a level that reaches rural women.