ICGE 1 issues Statement towards building gender equality

Thiruvananthapuram, November 14: The first International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE 1) issued a Statement with a special request to the governments to ensure that women are not put under “gender-specific restrictions” that deprive them of basic constitutional rights.

Copies of the Statement, released by Social Justice and Panchayats Minister Dr M K Muneer, were handed over to Mr Toshihiro Tanaka of UNFPA, Smt Divya Iyer, Assistant Collector of Kottayam, Smt Sharmistha Mukherjee, dancer-activist, and Prof Naila Kabeer of the London School of Economics, at the end of the three-day conference that included dialogue with Indian and International scholars, policy makers and activists.

Meant as a guideline to governments, civil bodies and the media, among others, it focuses on greater inclusion and engagement of women, people of different sexualities, those with disabilities and men from marginalised communities, towards ensuring participatory rights-based governance.

The Statement suggests an attitudinal and policy shift in traditional concepts and stereotypes, including changing the language, dialogue and depiction in media and including more women and transgender voices in media reporting assignments. It calls for an urgent need to “integrate gender into infrastructure as women bear a larger share of time and responsibility for household activities”.

Policy and legal interventions are called for in redistributing women’s unpaid domestic and care work to promote shared responsibilities within the household; policy is also required in removing barriers to mobility, providing skills and support structures to create incentives for women in employment.

It makes a note of the damaging effects to communities and nations caused by physical, emotional and sexual violence against women, transgenders and children and calls for probation of and punishment for the same.

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