October 20, 2011
Press Release: Two-day International Conference on “Gender Equity and Exclusion in South and Central Asia” concluded at Jamia
Speakers from across South and Central Asian countries deliberated on a wide range of issues related to women and issues revolving around their exclusion from all sectors at the two-day conference on “Gender Equity and Exclusion in South and Central Asia” which concluded on Tuesday, October 18. The international conference was organized by Dr K R Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia. Exhaustive sessions were held on women empowerment vis-a-vis the gendered labour market, education, health, representation in media as well as politics and governance.
Speakers dwelt on a number of questions that have a direct bearing on women in these regions, with almost everyone agreeing that along with economic empowerment, the need of the hour is to ensure women’s inclusion and representation in social, political and legal institutions as well. In the first session, while speakers agreed that globalization opened doors of employment for both men and women, women’s participation in labour force was being seen from a myopic lens, with majority of them being exploited as unpaid or underpaid labourers. Globalization, Shaheen Anam from Bangladesh conceded, comes with a price and that price is largely being paid by women who bear the brunt of poverty, discrimination and even increasing harassment.
In the second session, speakers discussed the adverse representation of women in media despite seeing a tremendous increase in their participation in the last two decades. Gender diversity, however, can only be effective if accompanied by gender sensitivity, said Nandini Sahai from India. Frozan Danish Rahmani presented the grim figure of women's representation and participation in media in Afghanistan – while their numbers have increased, women are confined to newsrooms, women journalists have often been attacked and threatened and lack of security has prevented them from actively getting involved in media roles.
In the other sessions, speakers deliberated on the role of the state and democracy which should be able to ensure inclusion and equality of women. This should be reflected in both the state’s policies and apparatus. Education, too, will fulfill an important social role and contribute to the overall good and democratic freedoms of a society, the speakers said.
Jamia Millia Islamia