We are very happy to present before you the report of the Short term Programme on Gender Sensitization held under the auspices of MHRD, University of Hyderabad from 27th August to 1st September, 2018.
This was a six days intensive programme wherein 18 resource persons were invited to discuss the various issues pertaining to gender, according to their expertise in order to sensitise the participants. These experts, touched upon the various issues such as the Concepts of Gender Sensitization, Feminist Perspectives in Social Sciences, Gender violence, Sexual Harassment, Gender and technology, gender identities, socialisation , trafficking of women and violence against women and so on. There were 40 participants from all over the state who were present at the programme majority of them were from Maharashtra. The participants came from different educational backgrounds such as Physics, Zoology, Bio-Chemistry, Commerce, Marathi, Hindi, Physical Education, Sociology, History, English, Political Science, Economics, English Language Teaching, coming from different Colleges and University from across the country from Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Telangana, and Assam. Men outnumbered women at the programme. The sessions were divided into 4 sessions which started from 9 on few days, with a Library visit and other days from 10am to 5.15pm.
After the registration, the first day started with an inauguration in the morning. Dr. S. Sudhakar Babu, from MHRD explained about the programme and the expectations from the participants. Prof. Rekha Pande, the course co-ordinator for the short term program, gave the introductory remarks. She gave a brief overview of the course stating that , Sexism exists in both men and women. In very subtle way it influences the outcome of various situations in life. Gender sensitivity helps to develop respect for individuals regardless of sex. Gender sensitivity does not mean pitting women against men. It means developing an understanding of what notions about gender are valid and which are stereotyped. Gender awareness requires not only an intellectual effort but sensitivity and open-mindedness. Gender is a critical social construct that assigns different roles and status to men and women in a given society. Because women and men have different roles and status within a household and in a community, this can favour or hinder their capacity to access information, obtain new opportunities, and make decisions. Achieving gender equality is a continuous process that has to be constantly put into question, thought about and redefined. Thus, it is important to develop Gender Sensitivity Programs to bring about that changes starting with the individual level, moving to the institutional level and finally reaching the societal level. Emphasizing on the role of a teacher , she concluded that if the teachers were gender sensitised , through them hundreds of studetns will be sensitised and we would succeed in our our endavour to build a gender just society.
Prof. Venkat Rao, the Dean of Social Science, University of Hyderabad, inaugurated the programme with a talk on disparity, exclusion and contemporary issues of human history for the participants. In a very scholarly talk he discussed the issues of exploitation, sexual division of labour, bride price and dowry system which had been the causes of women subordination. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Dr. Gyan Mudra, Director of Centre for Human Resource Development, at NIRD, Hyderabad. Highlighting the issue of, why Gender Sensitization, she highlighted the concept of sex and gender and how one is different from the other. She spoke of gender sensitive development, gender inequality, gender parity, gender relations and gender analysis. She also discussed the issue of gender equality and gender equity. Prof. U. Vindhya, from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, TISS, Hyderabad, engaged the participants by questioning the norms of behaviour that is expected of women and girls and that is allowed by society. She talked about the socialization process and the expectations by society. She referred to important terms such as victim blaming, victim shaming, gender gap, androgyny, image of women and right to vote which plays a crucial role in defining the identity of women in a society. In her second talk she highlighted the issue of gender sensitive perspective in Social Sciences and how women’s Studies began and its aims and objectives.
The second day had Prof. Suneeta Rani, from the Centre for Women’s studies, HCU, spoke on gender and social identities. She explained how understanding women’s professional identities is vital for understanding gender and gender equality in 21st century workplaces. Dr. M.N. Rajesh from the department of History, HCU, presented his talked-on Algorithm and intersection of gender in cyber space. He elaborated in the interrelationship between algorithms and gender. Prof. Sita Vanka, from the school of Management, HCU, delivered her lecture about gender and management. She talked about the managerial qualities of women and the glass ceiling she has to face. She made the participants understand various issues and challenges of Gender in the management by quoting all the economic data signalling gender inequality, participation of women in work places, disparity discrimination in pay gap and leadership.
Day three began with an interactive presentation by Dr. N.V. Madhuri, Head, Centre for Gender Studies and Development at National Institute of Rural development, NIRD, on Gender Mainstreaming. She discussed with the Participants, the concepts and issues of gender, mainstreaming and how women are doubly victimized and trivialized in India society because of their identity as women along with her other marginalized identities as tribal, dalits, economic poor and backward women. In a very participative way she presented the subject followed by Case Studies given to four group of participants which presented their observations.
Prof. Shahida Murtaza ,Dean School of Social sciences and Head, Department of Education MANNU, discussed the issue of sexual harassment of women in the work place. She laid emphasis on , the constitutional rights of women and thereby highlighting specifically upon the sexual harassment act of 2013 which is also known as Vishakha Guidelines. Prof. Rekha Pande, Head, Centre for Women’s Studies, UOH. discussed the issue of Gender Violence. She spoke about the culture of silence, domestic violence, rape, harassment and trafficking of women . She also highlighted on the Political, social and Economic impact of this violence on a society and the country at large. She also highlighted the issue of victim blaming and shaming and the culture of violence that has prevailed in the Indian society in the name of religion, honour and caste. The last lecture of the day was by Dr. Deepa Srinivas, from the Centre for women’s studies, UOH. She delivered her lecture on construction of masculinity. In her lecture she brought out discussion on how a men and women are asked to behave in society. Certain standards expectation are built around man and he too is marginalized when these expectations are not fulfilled.
Day four, had Prof. Aparna Rayapol, from the Sociology department of HCU, discuss on gender socialization and social institutions. She talked about gender and sex difference, place of women in Indian society, the role of family, peer team, educational and political institute which determines the role of women in society. She also explained how these elements contribute to gender segregation and gender violence. Dr. Hari Priya from IIT, Hyderabad spoke on, Gender and popular Culture. She explained the meaning of classical and popular and went on to talk about Gender in Cinema, Television, Music, Literature and Advertisement Her lecture focused on the importance of mass media in gender sensitization. Dr. Madhumeeta Sinha from EFLU, Hyderabad, then went on to show with various examples and discuss the issue of Gender and films.
The Fifth day, had Ms. Ramlakshmi, the first woman Officer in the Indian Forest Service from Andhra Pradesh Cadre, talk about Gender and Government policy. She highlighted some important policies from the Government for the empowerment of women. Dr. Radhika Mamidi from International Institute of Information technology, Hyderabad, highlighted Sexism in the media. After explain the concept of sexism she highlighted how even the Internet is not free from biases. Prof. Nilanjana Ray, from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, TISS, Hyderabad, discussed at length the issue of Trafficking of women. She put forward her views on how human trafficking occurs and its influence in society. Further, last but not least, the course e ended with a highly informative and useful lecture on gender and health, by Dr. Anupama Row, the CMO at the University of Hyderabad. She highlighted various issues of concern and the way to move forward. She brought in a large number of examples from her day to day experiences in dealing with women as a doctor.
The Sixth and the last day, had the participants giving their presentation in five groups from 9.00 to 11.30. The participants gave a presentation on five different themes such as, Women, health issues, Women achievers in Sciences and the Challenges, Gender Violence and its impact on Indian Films ,Gender sensitisation: issues and challenges and Use of Proverbs and their impact in our social life. This was followed by a valedictory session, where Prof. Y. Narasimhulu, the Director of MHRD, addressed the participants to continue this learning and be gender sensitive in their class room. He also spoke of how we as teachers need to update our skills in the present era of globalisation. This was followed by the key note address by Ms. Shravya Reddy the founder of the Organisation, We for She, that deal with the issue of dysfunctional marriages, where women have had dysfunctional marriages due to death, abandonment or divorce. Shravya Reddy spoke about how she had left a corporate job and toured all over Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to meet the women in rural areas and understand their issues and address them. She also highlighted how teachers can be an important force in bring out the change that we desire to see in our society.
We are very happy to report that all the sessions had a full participation from the participants and a lot of discussions took place with in each lecture and at the end of the lecture. The participants were very much involved in the one-week training programme, through three major activities. Each day two participants had to give a report of the days lecture and highlight the important learnings from these. The participants also gave a one page report at the end of the course on their observations about the program and how they have benefitted from t his program and how would they carry this learning forward. The participants also visited the library at the University and saw the various sections of the library and the resources available.
Here are some of the Feedback comments that we received from the participants.
Dr. Suresh Babu, faculty Department of Sociology from Chenganacherry, Kerala, stated, ‘The topic gender sensitisation is addressed adequately covering relevant aspects. The resource persons who delivered them are possessing expert knowledge in their area’.
Dr Gadpayle, Department of Hindi from Parbhani, Maharashtra, said, Some of the presentation were very impressive with field experience. I think this short term course on gender sensitisation was so well organized and efficient to meet objectives of the content. It may be extended to all the levels of academia and intelligentsia to bring out a visible change in near future.The session in all were taken by highly learned and well versed intellectuals dealing with different arena of gender issues.
Sunil Kumar Sharma, Asst. Prof., Dept of Political Science, Bilasipara College , Assam, stated, I feel this course very important for us teachers as we are the one who in the long run would be dealing with teachers as well as the community.
Dr Laxmipriya P. N. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, M.S. University of Baroda, Gujarat, ‘I think that women and politics should also be covered in this course’. The course has rendered a significant role in understanding society, its gender perception and ways to deal with futuristic society’.
Dr. Ashok Kumar B. Surapur from Akka Mahadevi women’s College, Karnataka, stated, After returning back to my department, I am eager to talk about gender. Please also discuss the issues of transgenders also.
Dr G Manoj Kumar, Physicist, Advanced Center for Research in High Energy Materials, University of Hyderabad, Telangana, It was a memorable week for me. Also the course was one of the best that I have attended so far. I will surely use these ideas in the classroom. I am staring a course on R for statistical analysis. I plan to use gender related data as one of the examples and discuss the issue.
Dr. Asma Rasheed, English Foreign Language University, Hyderabad, Telangana,It was truly an enjoyable week, and I learnt a lot as well. I hope to use some of the issues and concepts in my classrooms as well. Of course, this was also an opportunity to meet colleagues from different parts of the country who shared their valuable experiences and inputs too.
T. Pamulutaiah, Physical Education, S.L.S. Degree College, Andhra Pradesh, said, I found the programme very interesting. What I like about the programme was that it was carried out with discipline and punctuality. The classes functioned very smoothly and in a very pleasant way.
Dr. P.S. Jadhav, Bahirji Samarak Mahavidyalaya, Basmath, Maharashtra, felt, The programme was very well thought over by the organisers. No time was wasted and though it was very hectic it was very enjoyable. The content was of a very high quality and the whole atmosphere was in a very friendly manner. .
Dr. B.L. Raju, Indira Gandhi ,GFGW College, Sagar, Karnataka, This course proved to be very fruitful and relevant and was a great impetus to my inquisitiveness. I had never thought of many of these issues earlier and I got a lot of data through the lectures.
It is hoped that the teachers who attended this programme with a lot of interest, enthusiasm and dedication and participated in full in all the sessions with a lot of energy, will become the ambassadors of change in creating an equal and just society.
Rekha Pande, Head, Centre for Women’s Studies
Pooja Chetry and Pabitra Sharma, Research Scholars Centre for Women’s Studies