Distinguished Lecture on Gender Sensitization: Insights and Perspectives at Berhampur University’s New Conference Hall

On 4th October 2023, a distinguished lecture was held at New Conference Hall, Berhampur University, organized by P.G Dept of Women’s Studies. The talk was titled “Gender and Sensitization: Issues and Perspectives”. The meeting started with setting the tone by Dr. Bagmi Priyadarshani, faculty, Dept of Women’s Studies. She emphasized the need for gender sensitization in the present context. The convener of the lecture series, Dr. Kabita Baral introduced Prof. Rekha Pandey, the Speaker of the event, highlighting her contribution to the discipline of Women’s Studies and various Women’s Movement in India. Prof. Rekaha Pandey highlighted issues concerning society and women. Concepts of socialization, patriarchy, gender roles, gender violence, and gender mainstreaming were touched upon. As explained by Prof. Pandey, sex and gender are two different concepts. Sex is biologically assigned, but gender is created by society. As an example, women produce children because of sex but rear children because of gender. She also mentioned that patriarchy means rule by the father, and the manifestation of patriarchy refers to son preferences, which somehow affects society in terms of differences in sex ratio where girl child is aborted or killed. Increasing violence against women is also a result of male-child preference and the nature of the socialization of male children. According to Prof. Pandey, the labour division of gender primarily started during the hunting-gathering period. She believed that human civilization, across the world, has experienced shifts from matrilineal to the patrilineal family system, which is closely linked with the patriarchal nature of economic valuation of labour. As argued by Prof. Pandey, such a gendered nature of conceptualization of work has resulted in low women’s participation in labour compared to men. She contributed the same reason for the India’s rank of 127 in the global gender gap index. Prof. Pandey also focused on issues like human trafficking, prostitution, and domestic violence. Prof. Pandey is a feminist historian and was instrumental in setting up centres for women’s studies in Hyderabad University and in Maulana Azad National Urdu University. Then the honourable Vc Prof. Geetanjali Dash discussed how the gendered division of labour started during early civilization and evolved with economic development. She emphasized that abolishing the culture of silence and violence will be crucial to establishing gender equality and parity in society. P. G. Council Chairman Prof. Susanta Kumar Baral argued that all kind of work should be treated equally irrespective of the gender the person belongs to. There was a rich interaction between students and the resource person. The event concluded with a vote of thanks presented by Miss. Rasmi Rekha Jena.

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