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ICGE-II Ends with Call for Higher Role of Women, Transgender in Economy

In Kerala
February 14, 2021

The International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE) wound up its second edition today, emphasising the need for higher participation of women and transgender persons in socio-economic spheres alongside a curb in the crime against them.

Kerala Finance Minister Dr T M Thomas Isaac, addressing the three-day global summit that featured 16 sessions addressed by 90 speakers, said that the Government will introduce more projects and schemes for the upliftment of women and transgender persons. The Gender Park has a key role in leading discussions in this regard to promote such initiatives, he added.

The Minister highlighted the role of the state government’s Kudumbashree as a poverty eradication mission that focuses on the welfare of rural women.

“A social network backed by microfinance, Kudumbashree has bettered the conditions of women in Kerala since its inception (in 1999). The job it provides and skills it imparts are exemplary,” he noted as the chief guest at the valedictory ceremony of the hybrid-format ICGE-II organised at The Gender Park here by the state government’s Department of Women and Child Development in association with UN Women. “All the same, the status of women in Kerala, like in the country, must be enhanced in a big way,” the Minister added.

The ceremony, which was chaired by Kerala Minister for Health, Social Justice and Women and Child Development K K Shailaja, also saw Dr Isaac releasing a special postal cover.

Shailaja said the government has been “proactive” on women empowerment, ensuring decent budgetary allocation to programmes for the benefit of social businesses and sustainable entrepreneurship.

Susan Ferguson, UN Women’s India Country Representative, said Covid-19 has negatively impacted women in particular. “We must provide lasting solutions for development based on gender equity,” she pointed out in a special address.

Felicitation speeches were also delivered by A Pradeepkumar, MLA and Kozhikode District Panchayat President Kanathil Jameela.

The other speakers included former MP Subhashini Ali, Mauritius Vice Prime Minister Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, Venezuela Minister for Communes and Social Movements Noris Herrera Rodriguez, US Consul General (Chennai) Judith Ravin, Australia Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth & Women Bronnie Bronwyn Taylor and Costa Rica Ambassador to India Claudio Ansorena.

T Nirmala Devi, Post Master General (Northern Region), Kozhikode, gave a presentation on the postal cover released on the occasion.

Mallika Sarabhai, who is advisor to Gender Park welcomed the gathering, while UN Women Deputy Country Representative (MCO – India, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka) Nishtha Satyam proposed thanks.

On Sunday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will announce the functional launch of the Gender Park campus. He will also declare open a Gender Museum, Gender Library, International Convention Centre and an amphitheatre that form the first phase of the Rs 200-crore endeavour that works towards gender equality in the state. The Chief Minister will also lay the foundation of an International Women’s Trade and Research Centre that envisages a secure and sustained ecosystem for women entrepreneurs and a space for them to market products.

Earlier on Saturday, Kerala State Planning Board Member Dr Mridul Eapen said the essence of the deliberations at ICGE-II will translate into a policy framework for the Gender Park and UN Women to submit to the Kerala government as recommendations for social inclusiveness and sustainable social business. “It will mark the start of a collaborative and multi-stakeholder consultative process,” she said, chairing the concluding session on ‘Towards Developing an Inclusive Policy for Sustainable Social Businesses’.