Partnering Hope into Action (Phia) Foundation is taking forward the work done through the PACS Programme and works on the issues of social exclusion and poverty reduction. The issue of gender equality crosscuts all of our work. Leave No one Behind’ being the spirit of Sustainable Development Goals aims to place gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. Phia Foundation envisages for a gender equal world and strongly believes that gender inequality is one of the most crucial issues that needs to be tackled in India.
In an effort to build on to this work and bridge the gender gap, Phia in collaboration with other civil society organizations including PACS partners, Department of Tourism, Art-Culture, Sports & Youth Affairs, Govt of Jharkhand, academic institutions and media, join hands for the gender campaign – ‘It’s Possible’. It aims at redefining masculinity as it is popularly perceived. The campaign would be implemented in 10 states and would focus on challenging the perceived ‘masculine’ attitudes and behaviour around the five key themes of language, honour, freedom of choice, sharing of household work and parenting.
The Gender Campaign – ‘It’s Possible’ was launched on 09th June 2017 at Suchna Bhawan, Meur’s Road, Ranchi, Jharkhand. The event witness introduction of the campaign ‘It’s Possible’ to the audiences and a call for joining hands and taking action to ensure a gender equal society. A round table consultation during the event on “Status of Jharkhand towards achieving of SDG 5 & Role of youths as catalyst for this change” was facilitated. Mr. Johnson Topno, State Manager PHIA Foundation set the context and the need for such a Campaign on Gender Equality – “It’s Possible” in the state of Jharkhand and invited Government, Academic institutions, corporates, Civil Society Partners, Media and communities to participate and contribute in bringing gender equality and address SDG goals.
Shri M.S. Bhatia, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Jharkhand (GoJ), Mr. Ranendra Kumar, Director Sports, GoJ, Ms. Kiran, Gender Activist, P K Jha, NSS, State Coordinator, were the key speakers during the round table consultation.
Shri M.S. Bhatia, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, GoJ appreciated Phia’s endeavor in conceptualizing the Gender Campaign – ‘It’s Possible’ to tackle issues related to gender. He suggested that since the campaign in still in the stage of shaping up hence it should be re-strategized considering the context of the state and regional variances. He highlighted child marriage, witch hunting as a major issue in context of Jharkhand that can only be addressed if there are collaborative efforts of civil society and the administration where the society understands it role.
Mr. Ranendra Kumar, Director Sports, GoJ as the chairperson for the panel discussion shared his views on how gender disparity is deep rooted in the society. He highlighted the fact that social conditioning through present form of media is a cause of increasing incidences of violence. Witch hunting and domestic violence is also a result of this social conditioning.
Dr. Harishwar Dayal, Director IHD (Eastern Region) Economist referring to NFHS 3 and 4 data reveled that though there has been a steady increase in the percentage of women how have a say in household decision making, possession of capital assets but still indicators pertaining to sex ratio at birth and domestic violence are high. He also highlighted the fact that gender disparity is reflected in poor health statistics of women. For example more than 65% of women anemic and 70% of adolescents suffer from anemia. Poor health indicators of women reflect gender disparity.
Mr. Rahul Singh, JNU provided his perspective on gender biases and how it is deeply rooted in the very literature and grammar. He shared that most of the words attributed with power, control, influence are masculine. In fact most of the words originate from these masculine words. Language creates a divide since it has its origin from patriarchy.
Ms. Kiran, Gender Activist – CC Ltd emphasized on the importance of re-defining the rights of women. Why women should have representation in lower positions, why not in higher administrative positions.
Besides these several eminent speakers representing administration, media, social activists, civil society, NSS representatives, youths shared their views and opinions.
It was realized that the vision for an inclusive and gender equal world can only be achieved when there is a constructive engagement with like-mandated individuals, government, academic institutions, civil society organizations, media and other stakeholders. All participants during the campaign launch event pledged to work towards more inclusive society that is free from gender discrimination.