GENDER EQUALITY – A KEY DIFFERENTIATOR ANKITA KUMARI, VARUNA SINGH
Gender Inequality has a longstanding history of being entrenched in various aspects of the Indian society, excluding women not being contoured in dominant economic, social and political narratives.Recognizing the criticality of Gender Equality, United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 is centred on women emerging as equally invested stakeholders in our development paradigm.The UN believes “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. In the Indian context, Prime Minister Modi has expressed a deep commitment towards SDG 5 and NITI Aayog has been mandated as the nodal agency responsible for the implementation and monitoring outcomes for projects that relate to various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Nations Global Compact Network India (UN GCNI) organized their First Gender Equality Summit 2018 (GES 2018) in New Delhi on 9th March. The theme for the Summit was Gender Equality – A Key Differentiator for Sustainable Growth. The GES was unprecedented in terms of participation and the scope of its concerns. More than two fifty delegates from Government, Public & Private Sector, Civil Society and UN Agencies were drawn to one platform to deliberate imperatives and prepare a blueprint for action for healthy gender parity starting now and for generations to come. The Summit addressed UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 “Gender Equality” by reducing gender discrimination at workplace. Experts and research validate that meaningful inclusion of women increases productivity, also brings new perspectives & solutions to the table and strengthens the efforts of work. The United Nations Global Compact Network India’s Summit was centered on the concept of UNDGs MAPS (Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support) strategy for relevant, effective and collaborative implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
While giving the welcome address of the Summit Dr. Uddesh Kohli, Senior Advisor, UNGC said that “there is a synergy between what Global Compact is doing and what NITI Aayog is doing. NITI Aayog is basically doing because the commitment of the Government, but the Global Compact is doing it because the commitment of the Businesses. We are focused on the business activities of the Companies and also the Civil Society organisations who are partners in the Global Compact program.” R. Ramanan, Mission Director of the Atal Innovation Mission and Additional Secretary, NITI Aayog said “India has never lacked great women innovators, great scientists, great thinkers, great philosophers, great artists. But what has been lacking in this country is an ecosystem promoting women innovation and women empowerment.”He emphasized that “to achieve this agenda, we need to accelerate the partnerships and collaborations between multiple stakeholders” The panel sessions of GES 2018 were action packed and the panellists were from NITI Aayog, Ministry of Women and Child Development, UN Women, UNICEF, National Stock Exchange (NSE), Paytm Payment Banks, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deloitte India, Ford Foundation, HSBC, Axis Bank Foundation, ICICI Bank, PRADAN, Bhartiya Yuva Shakti Trust, IIM Sirmaur, Google, Capgemini, Philips Lightning, Nutri Health Systems and many more.
The first plenary session “Gender Mainstreaming” set an exciting tone for this one-day summit. The session highlighted various planned policies, program or initiative and its implications for both women and men. The second session of the day was on “Four Case Studies” selected from the “Best Practices Compendium” released during the inaugural session. In the “My Journey” session, Ms. Chetna Sinha, founder Mann Deshi Foundation and Ms. Srishti Bakshi, Founder and Managing Director of Cross Bow Miles, who’s walking from Kanyakumari to Srinagar to educate people about Gender Equality, captivated the audience with their inspiring stories of hope and determination to keep going. The panel on “Accelerating and Scaling Gender Specific Initiatives” discussed approaches of various stakeholders working towards gender outcomes and its relevance to SDGs target. The closing plenary themed “Transition to policy” discussed collecting gender specific data as evidence for policy base. Kamal Singh, Executive Director, UN GCNI said that we believe that transformation of India cannot be possible without taking women into account who almost make up for half of our population & concluded the summit with request to all the stakeholders to take this cause forward.