A range of programmes held at Technopark to mark International Women’s Day

There was a flurry of activity at Technopark on Friday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with work. Nearly every organisation here arranged programmes, in addition to the pan-company events, to celebrate International Women’s Day that falls on Saturday.

The concept of dancing to celebrate women’s empowerment and demonstrate collective strength seems to be catching on. An event held by the group Empowering Women in T (eWIT) saw women take a pledge to protect their rights, and then jive to the beats of a fitness dance routine popularly known as Zumba.

Collective

The fledgling collective was formed barely two years ago in light of how quickly the country’s information technology (IT) sector was developing. It aims at expanding the women workforce in the industry, educate the woman employees here, empower them, and ensure opportunities for networking, Rina Vivekanandan, president of the team, said.

‘Role Model Series’

The group has initiated the ‘Role Model Series’ that involves a series of conversations with women who have to managed strike a balance between their professional and personal lives. The first was held on February 11 by child rights activist Enakshi Ganguly.

“This is a universal problem that every working woman can relate to. We cannot afford to devote all our energies to work, considering the responsibilities we have at home as well,” Parvathy N. Pillai, Head of Product Strategy and Management at IBS, said.

Writer Jaishree Misra, who was also involved in the Women’s Day celebrations organised by Allianz earlier in the day, acknowledged during the eWIT programme that there was still a long road ahead. It was important to look back at the history of women’s rights struggle as well, she said.

Pledge

She read out the pledge that exhorted women to spread the message of equality, and make use of every opportunity to empower themselves. “Women in Kerala are by and large better off, but there are still plenty of issues left to be addressed. We continue to struggle against sexual harassment and, sometimes, subtle expressions of patriarchy,” the writer said.

She was also appreciative of the men who were present during the function organised in the open air auditorium at Technopark.

Men too

Varghese Cherian of UST Global was one of the few men who dared to join the ‘Zumba’ dance routine. “We do need to see more women in leadership positions. Those who do currently hold them are a minority, and this is my way of expressing solidarity with the cause,” he said.