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Kerala to host its first global conference on gender equality

Thiruvananthapuram: As gender discussions increasingly take centre stage in and outside the country, Kerala is gearing up to host a global conference on gender equality with the participation of thinkers, scholars, field experts, professionals and policymakers from around the world.

The Gender Park, an institution under the state department of Social Justice, is organising the three-day International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE -I) here with the support of UN Women from November 12-14.

It is envisaged to be the country’s first such large-scale exercise in creating a space to share knowledge and global experiences in reducing gender inequalities, said officials of Gender Park, which has already made a notable social impact with the women-run ‘She Taxi’ initiative.

“Gender, Governance and Inclusion” is the core theme of the conference that will discuss issues ranging from citizenship, globalisation, work, governance, health and education to masculinities, disability and the role of media, they said.

“For our state, this exercise takes on added significance because we hope to be able to draw attention to the successes and weaknesses of the Kerala model of development,” state Minister for Social Justice M K Muneer said.

He said the programme would provide in-depth vision and understanding of the best practices worldwide for achieving gender equality.

Gender Park CEO Dr P T M Sunish said the conference would build on the success of initiatives such as the all-women taxi cab ‘She Taxi’, which is being adopted by other states as a powerful model for women’s entrepreneurship and a means to ensuring their social and financial security.

“What we have realised with She Taxi is that there are very practical, viable solutions for addressing gender issues out there, waiting to be explored. The conference, we expect, will generate a pool of ideas that can be built on and implemented successfully,” he said.

There will be paper presentations, plenary sessions and panel discussions on various themes. A poster exhibition will be on display throughout the conference.

ICGE-I will bring out a high-quality publication capturing the knowledge and lessons in this area and formulate a 2015 ICGE Statement on the way forward for Kerala and India to act on, promote and sustain gender equality, official sources added.

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