‘Beyond reservation, women should be given economic, political opportunities’

January 31, 2024 02:46 pm | Updated 02:46 pm IST - CHENNAI

Kripa Ananth Pur, Professor, Madras Institute
of Development Studies addressing at the international conference on gender dynamics in history, society, culture and power structures at Stella Maris College in Chennai on January 31, 2024

Kripa Ananth Pur, Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies addressing at the international conference on gender dynamics in history, society, culture and power structures at Stella Maris College in Chennai on January 31, 2024 | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

The reservation for women in various spheres was not enough and they were to be provided with economic and political opportunities, among others, Kripa Ananth Pur, Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies said in Chennai on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. If women were not provided with these supporting factors, they would remain puppets in somebody’s hands, she contended.

At the keynote session on ‘Women’s Political Participation in Local Democracy’ during the international conference on Gender Dynamics in History, Society, Culture, and Power Structures organised by the Department of History and the Centre for Women’s Studies in Stella Maris College, she underlined the significance of political representativeness and emphasised on political literacy among women.

Sharing her analysis on the ‘Pudhu Vaazhvu’ / ‘Vazhndhu Kattuvom’ project in Tamil Nadu as a model for bringing inclusiveness, she pointed out how the institutional anchoring of the project within the local government, shifted the onus on the community for bringing people out of poverty. The five cascading effect of the projects were economic impact, women’s empowerment, political participation, public action and downward accountability, she said.

Radhika Lakshminarayanan, who made a presentation on ‘Women’s Empowerment in the Arab World’ said the traditional social structure of the Arab world was patriarchal and patrilineal and how Shariah-based laws dominated. Modernisation and urbanisation and exposure to western institutions and culture resulted in slow process of women’s empowerment, she said.

Challenges that remained, included conventional gender roles, lack of criminal penalities for workplace harassment in Iran, Jordon and Qatar, honour killings in Egypt, Jordon, Syria and prevalence of female genital mutilation in Egypt and Sudan, Ms. Lakshminarayanan said. Though ‘State feminism’ has enabled marginal presence of women in political roles, aspiring women needed political training in skills, support and financial resources, she said.

Sebastian Joseph, general secretary, Kerala History Congress, spoke on ‘Liquid Landscape of Gender: Body, Gadget and Intelligence’ and explained how technology had impact on human lives. Pointing out how rubber plantations which started in Kerala in 1900s changed the landscape and mind space of rural areas, he said technology has taken similar role.

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