Society

Women as game-changers

Since its first edition in 2005, the International Women’s Conference (IWC) has hosted over 375 speakers and 5,500 delegates from over 100 countries. This February (23-25) in its eighth edition, it is all set to host 500 women delegates from diverse backgrounds and professions, across the world.

“This year’s theme is ‘Life: A Mystical Journey’. In the past we have dealt with a wide variety of subjects from women in technology to women in leadership, and exploring inner beauty. This time, our chairperson, Bhanumathi Narasimhan, wanted to explore the mystical aspect, through spirituality. We will have sessions on everything from the relationship between science and spirituality to 360 degree views on behaviour patterns,” says Chinky Sen, one of the lead organisers of the conference.

Women as game-changers
 

The 2018 edition of the conference will feature a range of speakers from actor Rani Mukherji to environmentalist Vandana Shiva; Mridula Sinha, Governor, Goa; Adriana Marais, theoretical physicist, head of innovation at SAP Africa; Professor Maithree Wickramasinghe, founder director of Center for Gender Studies at the University of Kelaniya to Arundhati Bhattacharya, former chairman, State Bank of India; and Chetna Gala Sinha, Founder-Chairperson Mann Deshi Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation.

“Women are leading peacemakers. They work together towards creating a stress-free, violence-free society. The conference is a message in peace and unity,” says Bhanumathi Narasimhan, Chairperson, IWC.

The goal of the conference, which is hosted at the Art of Living International Centre, is individual development and collective action and to ‘facilitate partnership-building and leadership development among women leaders globally’.

Women as game-changers
 

“The sessions at the conference will be engaging and exciting. Among the highlights this year, is an exclusive dialogue with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Founder, Art of Living), called ‘Mind Matters’. There are some interesting sessions on topics such as ‘Intuition, Innovation and Creativity’; on life as a game, a play, a war; and the session on 360 degree behaviour patterns will also address how they can be changed through yoga and meditation,” says Sen.

The conference is also associated with the Art of Living’s ‘Gift A Smile’ project, which offers education to over 58,000 students in 435 free schools across 20 Indian states. Girl children comprise 48 per cent of the student demographic and 90 per cent of the students are first-generation learners.

This year the conference will also support the creation of open-defecation free districts in India. The project involves two phases. In the first phase, the organisation will work towards sensitisation and awareness, on the importance of health and hygiene. “We have already reached out to 12 gram panchayats in seven states. We will be presenting the report in the conference. We will then build toilets in the second phase.”

Women as game-changers
 

The organisation plans to build over 4000 toilets. In keeping with another social impact tradition, the conference will also include a signature campaign on violence against women and on gender equality.

The IWC in its previous editions, has worked on initiatives such as constructing homes for the underprivileged, creating awareness on environmental care, organising a movement to stop violence against women, and empowering women through skills training. It has also worked with the World Bank Institute to develop empowerment schemes for women in vulnerable nations and expanded vocational training for widows in Iraq.

The 8th International Women’s Conference will take place between February 23 and February 25 at the Art of Living International Centre on Kanakapura Road. For details visit artofliving.org/iwc.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 11:19:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/women-as-game-changers/article22806624.ece

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