South Asia Women’s Conference at KIIT discusses the path to inclusive development

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KIIT and KISS Universities of the Temple City, the flag bearer global institutions practicing and propagating gender equality, zero-tolerance against gender-based violence, an entrepreneurship programme for tribal women and girls, capacity building of women in tribal districts, education for all and empowerment through sports, held the opening day sessions of South Asia Women’s Conference (SAWC) 2022 on 27th May 2022.

The two-day event, in association with the United States Consulate General Hyderabad, held in association with multiple UN bodies, has started discussing sustainable networking for the development of women and girls in South Asia. The SAWC 2022 theme this year is “Towards an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable World.” Seventy delegates are participating in the meet.

Welcoming the delegates Vice-Chancellor of KIIT Deemed University and Chairman of the inaugural session, Prof Sasmita Samanta said “Women are the epitome of knowledge and we have to connect to the globe to assert the power that we possess with humility.’’

She also observed that women of South Asia have the unique culture of safeguarding the well-being of all around them with their noble qualities like tolerance, peace, and patience, but neglecting their own selves. This conference will try to zero in on the reasons behind such neglect so that the well-being of women folks would be taken care of, in the future.

In her keynote address leading actress-turned director and activist Nandita Das, “we have to say Yes to all that we can achieve and no to what means NO! Saying that those who are suffering from it have to carry the burden of changing it, the actor added If we did not fight for it, who would do it for us?, the noted actress also observed that it was not a fight between men and women as we have to share the responsibilities and burdens of our lives to march ahead.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Frankie Sturm Acting Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General, Hyderabad said, “The absence of equality makes it difficult for communities to resolve conflict, complicates efforts to boost economic prosperity and undermines countries’ abilities to grow. The untapped potential of women is a lost opportunity for economic growth, equitable development and conflict resolution. We have to regain the opportunity and achieve gender equality.”

Smt. Lakshmi Puri, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, in her video message at the inaugural ceremony, highlighted the way towards ushering in Planet 50-50 by 2030 and the centrality of #SDG5 for achieving Agenda 2030.

“Empowerment is both an agent and a product of social change. It is about choice and ability to influence one’s desired action and be part of the decision-making process,” said Mr. Arun Sahu, High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago.

Ms Acharapan Yuvaprapas, Consul General Thai Consulate, Kolkata in her speech referred to “Gender Rights equality is a Human Right issue.’’

“Through inclusivity and sustainability, we can find solutions to all global problems,’’ said Ms. Tahina Rasamoelina Chargee D’Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar.

Mr. Rahul Bose Eminent Actor and Social Activist in his message said. “I hope, workable, implementable, interesting, and innovative ideas come about from the interactions. But more than that, I hope that the people who have attended the seminars go back to their homelands and start implementing the ideas that they have come up with and discussed.”

Ms. Abha Mishra, United Nations Development Programme, State Head – Odisha said “All the SDGs cannot be achieved if we have no mechanism to address the gender gap and difference.”

Mr. Himanshu Bal, World Food Programme, State Head – Odisha noted that if we could address hunger, we could also address SDG 5. Both men and women have to be empowered at the same time. Later three sessions of panel discussions were also held during the day in which UNFPA, WFP, UNESCO, UN Volunteers and UN Women representatives participated.

The prime objective of the conference is to bring together select U.S. Government exchange alumni working on gender equity-related themes from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India. The regional conference with several sessions of workshops, group discussions and breakout sessions are to ensure a designated path in order to achieve the SDG Agenda 2030 of the United Nations. 

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