The fourth Gender Samvaad was co-organized by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Developmen and Institute for What Works to Advance Gender Equality (IWWAGE) yesterday here.
Gender Samvaad, is a unique, joint attempt between DAY-NRLM and IWWAGE to establish a shared platform to generate awareness on DAY-NRLM’s gender interventions across the country, with a focus on hearing voices from the states and of SHG members. The virtual event brought together over 8000 participants, including senior officials MoRD, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of Bihar and state government officials, practitioners, gender experts, academia, civil society actors, and members of self-help groups.
In his keynote address, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Shri Charanjit Singh expressed concerns over the statistics on gender based violence and emphasised on the role that community based institutions can play in addressing this issue. He also stressed on inter-ministerial convergence to address Gender Based Violence, especially with Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Ministry of Education for awareness generation and sensitisation.
Joint Secretary, DAY-NRLM, Smt. Smriti Sharan highlighted the extensive efforts undertaken by DAY-NRLM in empowering women and creating model institutions to address women’s issues in rural areas particularly through the platform of Gender Resource Centre.
Community resource persons (CRP) from various states including Jharkhand, Kerala and Odisha were invited to share their experience of institutional strategies adopted to address gender based violence. Smt Rajani Dandasena from Odisha shared the experience of the functioning of the Prerna Kendra (Gender Resource centres) at Gram Panchayat level. The Prerna Kendras have established strong linkages with other departments through Gender Forum and have been able to address cases of Violence. The Gender Campaign launched in November 2022 has also led to widespread awareness on GBV and demanding public action through the institutions of the women. Women shared experiences of addressing issues like witch hunting, drug abuse, sexual violence, etc.
Smt. Mahua Roy Chaudhary from Jeevika, Government of Bihar highlighted the importance of gender training, learning pedagogies and use of IEC materials leading to creation of gender responsive institutions particularly Didi Adhikar kendras for addressing violence that is deep rooted in patriarchy and social norms. She also emphasized the political empowerment of women as ward members and mukhiyas in the state. She emphasized the importance of sustainability of these institutions in continuing delivering women’ s empowerment.
A panel discussion followed which included Joint Secretary from Ministry of Women and Child Development, Gender Expert and Women’s rights lawyer to emphasise the importance of SRLM and system related opportunities like legal remedies including fast track courts, horizontal and vertical gender training across different stakeholders and inter-ministerial convergence adopting multi-pronged strategies to address GBV. The panel discussed innovative financing for sustainability, safe spaces for women like Shakti Sadan and short stay homes, strengthening data driven governance and economic agency of women. The conversation laid out the scope of convergence between Naari Adalats under Mission Shakti with Gender Resource Centres under DAY-NRLM. The Samvaad 2023 ended with the need to come together to address the core issues of women through focus on preventive measures, convergence and innovative and local approaches of problem solving.