Rural women, gender equality major focus at meet

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New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) Women battling gender discrimination, challenges faced by rural women and government’s role in achieving gender equality were the issues discussed at the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women 2018 here on Tuesday.

Organised by UN Women India, the day-long event majorly focused on the status of rural women and girls, which was attended by UN agencies, civil society organisations and other stakeholders.

“Rural women in India are not a homogeneous constituency; they are engaged in various occupations and affected by multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. Unpaid care work, lack of access to resources, financial entitlements, social services often create layered marginalisation for rural women,” Jeevan Kanakkassery, Communications Analyst, UN Women, said.

At different sessions, topics like challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and empowerment of rural women and girls, role of media in visibilising issues of rural women and girls and others were talked about.

The first session brought up linkage between economic empowerment, ending violence as well as disucssing key national policy frameworks and schemes for empowerment of rural women. Another session discussed struggles of Dalit women, widows and disabled of rural India and the vulnerabilities and multi sectoral discriminations they face.

“Cultural marginalisation, economic deprivation and societal pressure – these three factors make the lives of widows in rural areas extremely vulnarable. Unfortunately, not much of data is available on the number of widow women in India,” Meera Khanna from The Guild for Service said at the workshop.

“Most Dalit women and girls can be found in brothels. In rural areas, they are sexually exploited; their bodies are treated just as a sex object. The police is extremely unsympathetic and rather cruel towards Dalit women,” Asha Kotwal of All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch said.

The role of media was also being discussed to visibilise and encourage more of gender-sentive reportage.

–IANS

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