Webinar on women’s representation in local self-government, demands necessary changes
Calicut: IOS Centre for Gender Studies organised a webinar jointly with the state Women Commission, on the eve of the local body election in the state here on November 26, 2020. The topic of discussion was “How to make women’s representation in local self-government effective”. Ms. Sheena VS, who welcomed the audience, underlined the need for constructive institutional changes to achieve the real objectives of women’s representation in the local bodies which now enjoy more freedom of action and decision. S. Bushra, who chaired the webinar, said it was the beginning of a more detailed evaluation of women’s role in decision making.
Dr. Shahida Kamal, member of Women’s Commission who inaugurated the programme, pointed out the lukewarm response of political parties to the women’s reservation in legislatures. Women should try to become full-fledged citizens in their own way. Otherwise, real empowerment would remain a chimera.
Prof. Kusumam Joseph, the state convener of NAPM, a nationwide NGO, delivered the keynote speech. She opined that women are more capable of creative intervention in social and political problems due to their inherent ability to empathise with fellow beings. Women members in the local body had been given a task to energise women around to fight for a better and equal society. Unfortunately, there was well-entrenched patriarchy in all law-making bodies preventing women from playing an effective role in legislation. A woman prime minister or governor does not change the ground realities, as their role is most often symbolic. Mrs Gandhi might have been an exception. Women will have to acquire more knowledge about law-making to ensure gender justice.
Ms. Beena R (district programme manager, Kudumbashri), Sharanya Raj (writer) and Amina Sajeev (social activist), Shylaja L (resource person, Gender Relations, Kerala Institute of Local Administration), Amala Kumar (Shashthra Sahitya Parishad), were among the participants representing many spheres of life.