Aimed at addressing the present status of gender dynamics in Kerala society, a seminar on ‘Gender equality in Kerala: Paradoxes and challenges’ was organised by the Political Science Department of Maharaja’s College here on Tuesday.
Mridul Eappen, former member of the State Planning Board and Fellow of Centre for Development Studies, inaugurated the seminar.
Mridul said that though Kerala has been much ahead in terms of the indicators of women development, the savings of women have drastically come down due to unemployment. “Social and economic developments, including globalisation, are multiple factors transforming gender relations and status of women in society. Besides, women in Kerala are not free from the pressures and challenges of globalization,” she said.
Mridul said that effective macro-economic policies can make up these challenges.
She urged the government to adopt a more gender-friendly policy to eradicate the existing discrimination. “We are still following a patriarchal feudal culture which results in inequality,” she said.
At the seminar, freelance researcher T K Anandi said it was a misconception that there was no discrimination in the organised sectors. “It is present even at the topmost levels in the government,” she noted.
Due to the strong presence and participation of women in all areas of social life of Kerala, the higher Gender Equality Index (GEI) has increased in Kerala. But despite this, Kerala lags behind other states in terms of women empowerment especially in terms of rate of women work participation,” Anandi said.
Gender issues need to be addressed by men and women equally, she said.
Anandi also said that it is time that women stop taking a back seat and get out of their stereotypical roles.
Topics discussed during the seminar included women in Kerala’s public space, domestic violence and atrocities against women in Kerala and political participation and representation of women in Kerala. Neena Joseph and C S Sujatha among others were present.