ICGE a major turning point in gender equality: Mollywood stars

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 14: The International Conference for Gender Equality (ICGE), a platform to formulate and exchange ideas free of cultural and language barriers, has been an unqualified success, celebrity attendees said.

The delegates, among whom featured leading lights of the Malayalam film industry, said the conference organised by Gender Park had a strong theme, was impressively organized and has provided constructive discussion forums and action plans for practical implementation of the ideas discussed.

“Children should be taught the necessary lessons about gender equality as they grow up. The inclusion of sex education in school syllabi will help in creating awareness against exploitation and abuses,” said actress Parvathy of Ennu Ninte Moideen fame. “I had many breaks in my career due to my bold reactions at certain instances”, said Parvathy.

Filmmaker Anjali Menon prefers to be called “a director, rather than a woman director”. The Bangalore Days-maker dismissed the notion that directors need to have a loud, deep (masculine) voice, saying that her soft-spoken tone has been enough to run a film set.

“The ICGE has been a great opportunity to understand the works done in the field of gender equality from different parts of the world and also a platform to interact with such pioneers like Mallika Sarabhai,” said actress Lakshmi Gopalaswamy.

“Though I have a Masters degree in Women Studies, this conference has enhanced my knowledge on gender issues,” the actress said, adding that the workable ideas can be a model for the rest of the world to follow.

“Both Gender Park and the Social Justice Department are to be commended for organising the conference,” she added.

A sentiment echoed by noted music composer and music director Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, who expressed his gratitude to the conference’s efforts to help move society forward.

“Gender equality is the need of the day,” the maestro said.

The ICGE and its action plans came in for appreciation from foreign delegates as well.

“In my country, where it is considered taboo for women to drive cars, go out after 6 pm, select their field of study or even their choice of career, such conferences are crucial,” said Ohood, a student from Yemen. “Conferences like this can change adverse attitude towards women to an extent.”

“For a woman coming from rigid social structures, Kerala has pumped a fresh air of freedom in my life,” said Ohood, a research scholar at Karyavattom University. “Unlike countries that give men greater importance in the workplace, Kerala stands as a role model through its encouragement of women at all tiers of the labour force – from auto drivers and conductors on up.”

Petra Ovia, a student at Maryland University in the US, said she attended the conference “to understand international perspectives on gender equality”. “America is more progressive towards gender equality than India is,” she said, adding that India will gain a lot going forward from a conference like this.

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