Bhubaneswar: A three-day workshop on ‘Gender Equity and Inclusion: Transformative Pathways in Higher Education’, organised by Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) and KIIT Deemed to be University in association with Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP), was inaugurated on 26th November 2019.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath, Director, WISCOMP said, educated youth, fully enfranchised, need to develop the ability to push for structures of inclusion and partner with enlightened managements to create not just ‘Safe’ but ‘Enabling Campuses’. Such campuses will move colleges beyond law mandated anti-sexual harassment guidelines and self-generate gender equality processes in keeping with the changing times.
KISS and KIIT have been doing exemplary work in Gender Equity and Inclusion, she said, elaborating that 50 percent of the students of KIIT are girls, whereas 40 percent of staff are women. Many senior positions in KIIT are occupied by women. Similarly, in KISS 60 percent of students are girls. The United Nations sustainable development goal includes Gender Equity and inclusion. But KIIT and KISS have fulfilled it by its own sustainable development goals, she stated. In India there are more than 900 higher education institutions. But it is seen that only 3 percent of women are in the highest posts in such education institutions, Dr. Gopinath informed.
A Research chair in the honour of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama would be set up in KISS Deemed to be University in association with WISCOMP, declared Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath during the session. The initiative has been taken by WISCOMP, and the final outcome will come out after complete discussion with KISS authorities, she said.
Prof. Sasmita Samanta, Pro Vice Chancellor, KIIT Deemed to be University said, the participants would like the idea that the American academics and WISCOMP has been brought to the University, to evolve context and milieu-specific gender equality processes. Among others, Shri R. N. Dash, Secretary, KIIT & KISS; Ms. Seema Kakran, Dy Director, WISCOMP were present.
This unique initiative is supported by the Public Affairs Section of the American Embassy-New Delhi and has brought together eminent educators, lawyers and civil society representatives from Odisha in a stimulating exchange with American scholars and feminist experts from around the country. Gender audits as a tool have been employed by international development agencies, corporate and American universities to assess progress on gender mainstreaming. The dialogue-cum-workshop at KISS is part of first such Pan India initiative for universities and colleges.