ender equality, women’s rights and human rights cannot be values we simply aspire for. Rather, these are the very foundations that ground humanity and must serve as our collective identity as we navigate this decade of action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations to a better future for all……
Departments of Political Science and English, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) organised a Webinar titled ‘Gender Bias, Stereotyping, and Gender Equality’ in collaboration with University Grants Commission(UGC) .
The webinar was inaugurated by Prof. Najma Akhtar, Vice-Chancellor, JMI who stayed on for the entire session contributing very lucidly to the discussion.
The distinguished speakers in the forenoon session on Deconstructing Gender Inequality were Prof. Ranjana Aggarwal, Director CSIR & NISTADS and Dr. Abhijeet Das, Director, Centre for Health and Social Justice and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Global Health, University of Washington, USA.
The Chair for the forenoon Session, Prof Bulbul Dhar-James, Political Science Department, JMI highlighted that Gender recognizes the diversity of different groups of women and men. But it is not limited to a ‘binary’ understanding of gender. The backdrop of the concern is that gender equality is not just a women’s issue. It is located within the overall framework of ‘human rights’ for all and refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. There can be no human rights without gender equality.
Prof. James also said that Gender needs to be integrated in a typical political economy analysis to make analysis participatory and inclusive, and look at how invisible sources of power (e.g. social norms, public perceptions, institutional cultures) affect the position of different stakeholders and their ability to act and most importantly think about how women might be supported to drive social, political and economic change, rather than be passive recipients of new rights, opportunities or resources. Overall, Gender Equality is a precondition for peaceful, sustainable, people-centred development.
The Forenoon Session on “Deconstructing Gender Equality” covered with interesting narratives and examples, understanding the latent and manifest concepts of gender, stereotyping, Patriarchy, Masculinity and issues of violence to glass ceiling, bridging the gap.
Prof Ranjana’s presentation on Gender Equality & Empowerment for Peace & Development focussed on women from ancient to contemporary India to scientists and STEM today.
Dr. Abhijeet Das’s presentation brought out the significant discourse on men and masculinities in India.He focused on the cost of Masculinity- both men and women suffer due to structural inequality embedded in all patriarchal relationships. He emphasised the need for men to endorse and support women’s participation in the public sector at community level. There is a need to improve the quality of intimate relationship shared in hetero-normative relationships and other intimate relationships as well.
The Afternoon Session on “Indian Literature; Demolishing Gender Stereotyping or Sustaining It?’ had doyens like a renowned Poet, Prof. Smita Aggarwal, Former Director, Centre for Women’s Studies, Allahabad University and Prof. Bharathi Harishanker, HoD Department of Women’s Studies, University of Madras. The Resource Persons highlighted the intersectionality of caste, class, religion and culture through very succinct Literary works in terms of the conscious and subconscious gender roles.
Due to an overwhelming response of nearly 600 registrations, and the limitations of the Google meet platform, the Webinar was live streamed on YouTube as well as Google meet on a “first-come-first-serve” basis. The Webinar was very interactive with tremendous participation and feedback.