India CSR News Network
NEW DELHI: The Bridge Conclave – Conversations on Gender Empowerment, was inaugurated by Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child development today in New Delhi.
The day witnessed presence of other eminent speakers – Sharmila Tagore, Nandita Das, Ankhi Das, Rohini Nilekani, Shohini Ghosh, Ginni Mahi, Urvashi Butalia, Mona Eltahawy, Nivedita Menon, amongst many other luminaries.
Speaking on the occasion, Maneka Gandhi highlighted the issues related to Defense & Safety and Actual Empowerment. As a solution to the issue of molestation, she brought up, “We have taken the First ever initiative to introduce the world’s 1st panic button on the cell phone. It is an app for the safety of women – once you press the button, it will alert 10 people closest to you before the police arrives (technological solution)”.
She further said, “We have also taken an initiative to introduce ‘One stop centers’ dedicated to women. One stop centers will be a solution for this issue. Further, for encouraging women in India, we have recently started a program called ‘STEP’ in order to train 200 women at once to get them jobs in the fields like organic farming and learning different skills. The other one is E-Mahila Hut where people can buy stuff from, instead of buying them from outside. It has to be a whole generation of women who can lead the nation and this should be started from the ground level”.
The inaugural session was followed by a session on the evolution of female actors in Bollywood. Narrating her experiences of gender biases in the industry, Sharmila Tagore said, “Somewhere or the other all female actor has been in shackles and that is the attitude which we need to change. The fact that even now in many movies which are based on women empowerment and related issues, somewhere there are subtle patriarchal messages and this is where the gap lies.”
Nandita Das speaking about her roles in ‘Aks’ and ‘Firaq’ said, “When I came into the limelight I had always been referred to as ‘Dark and Dusky heroine’. Somehow the film makers considered my complexion related to a certain social class and that was the only role they wanted me to portray.”
At the conclave, Mona Eltahawy, freelance Egyptian-American Journalist, Nivedita Menon, Professor Of Political Thought , JNU and Urvashi Butalia, co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publisher talked of the translation of the idea of feminism in the context of Indian society and its culture.
The first half of the conclave concluded with a live performance by Ginni Mahi, the famous Punjabi Pop Singer. Through her songs, she encourages the Dalit community to unify against forces of social inequity and economic deprivation. On the occasion, Ginni Mahi said that women empowerment is one critical subject that she has addressed in her songs.