Global meet on gender equality gets underway in Kerala
The International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE) got underway here on Thursday with Kerala Social Justice and Women and Child Development Minister K K Shailaja emphasising the need to promote social entrepreneurship in a big way for the uplift of marginalised sections.
Inaugurating the second edition of ICGE, Shailaja said the South Asias first Gender Park set up in the state will extend total support to enterprises of women and transgender persons, which is a major component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations.
The three-day high-profile conclave is being organised by the Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Kerala, in association with UN Women at the Gender Park here.
"It is important to promote social entrepreneurship to help women and transgender persons to come up and enjoy equal status. They are often victims of gender discrimination and denied opportunities.
There are many sectors that await women and transgender persons to enter and make their strong presence felt. The gender park will extend all support to them," Shailaja said.
The state government is committed to ensuring equal opportunities to them in all spheres including education, skill development and entrepreneurship. It is with this objective that the gender park has set up a dedicated study centre in association with UN Women.
This centre will study issues concerning women and transgender persons from India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, she noted. An International Women's Trade Centre is also being set up in the park for better marketing of products of women enterprises from these countries.
The Gender Park CEO Dr PTM Sunish said gender equality should be included in the syllabus of educational institutions to create greater awareness about that. The conventional approach of the society towards women and transgender persons should change.
The Gender Park will make tireless efforts to achieve gender equality in all spheres, he said. Making a strong case for cultural empowerment of women, former Rajya Sabha Member Brinda Karat said it is high time that the society discarded the traditional cultural yardsticks.
The centres of power always try to halt the upsurge of women when they make each step forward, and it is important to follow the Kerala model in breaking the caste barriers, she said.
Kerala State Planning Board Member Dr Mridul Eapen, who is also a member of The Gender Parks Advisory Council, Jonatan Klum Stelander, Second Secretary, Swedish Embassy, Barbara Langley, Director, Centre for Womens Economic Empowerment, US, Thoyyib Mohamed, MD Visit Maldives, were also present.
The high-profile conclave, which has Gender in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Business: The Mediating Role of Empowerment is being attended by policymakers, academics, professionals and domain experts from across the globe.