Fresh perspectives at India’s first International Conference on Gender Equality

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 11: It is an event that is expected to set a new tone for a gender-just society.

In a first-of-its-kind programme in the country, hundreds of Indian and 80-plus international delegates from 40 countries will come together for the debut International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE 1) in Kerala capital for three days of hectic discussions and, no doubt, debate.

State Governor Shri Justice P Sathasivam will inaugurate the conference at the KTDC Samudra Convention Centre on Thursday at 10 am.

Apart from the keynote address on the conference theme, ‘Gender, Governance and Inclusion’ by London School of Economics academic Prof. Naila Kabeer, the inaugural day session includes the presentation of a Central High Level Committee report on the Status of Women in India. A report of this nature, undertaken following the recommendations of then President Smt Pratibha Patel, is the first such assessment since 1971.

This presentation sets the momentum, with discourses following on sex ratios, education, landholding, livelihoods, health and the portrayal of women in the media, among other things.

But importantly, the key discussion at the tightly-packed schedule is the issue of inclusion—new Kerala transgender policy, masculinities, and disability—without overtones of any ‘isms’.

The presence of a large foreign delegation—from Australia to African and South American countries—is expected to give an international perspective in the culminating ICGE 1 Statement that will be issued at the closing on November 14.

“The enthusiasm of high-profile national and international delegates have inspired us too in putting together a conference that covers a whole spectrum of issues that are vital to our times,” says Dr P T M Sunish, CEO of the Gender Park, which is the main organiser of the conference. “The ICGE 1 statement is planned as a way forward for policy makers, practitioners and civil society organisations in creating an inclusive and just society.”

The conference is held in association with UN Women. The UNFPA is also supporting and helping with organising the event.

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