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Advancing Inclusivity In Society Led By Women: Challenges And Strategies – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

Advancing Inclusivity in Society Led by Women Challenges and Strategies

Session Report
Reetwika Mallick

The Gender Impact Studies Center, at IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi conducted a Two-Month Online National Winter School Program on ‘Young Women Leaders in Public Policy Fellowship’ from January 6th, 2024 to March 8th 2024.

The course, spread over two months, provided a unique opportunity to gain in-depth insight into public policy. The course led by esteemed experts, empowered young women to be effective leaders. Through a combination of engaging lectures, interactive workshops, networking, guidance by thematic experts and practical exercises.

On day 8 of the ‘Young Women Leaders in Public Policy Fellowship’, Adv Dr Albertina Almeida, Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Goa; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI discussed in length various aspects of inclusivity- its importance, how to construct an inclusive society and consequences of a non-inclusive society on women specially and other marginalised groups in general.

Importance of Inclusivity for Women-

Adv. Dr. Almeida commenced the session with a dilemma that the notion inclusivity of women presents. This dilemma, she explained comes with the diverse identities apart from gender that possess including place of birth, religion they profess, economic background they belong to, caste assigned to them. Such intersection of identities, can also be conflicting, and therefore, Adv. Dr. Almeida delineated the significance of balancing identities in order to ensure inclusivity.

Taking the session forward, Adv. Dr. Almeida explained ways in which women’s experiences in life and governance differs from men’s. The impact of governance policies on women particularly is different since, policies are often formulated from a male oriented perspective.

Consequences of Failures of Social Integration-

Discussing about the negative impacts of non-inclusive societies on individuals in particular and societies in general, Adv. Dr. Almeida enumerated, the challenges of social fragmentation, widening disparity and inequality, strains on individual’s families, communities and institutions, a result of the rapid place of social changes, economic transformation, migration and major dislocation of population, particularly in areas of armed conflict.

In the session, Adv. Dr. Almeida, an expert in the field, explained the inclusive provisions enumerated in the Indian Constitution. Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constituon deals with equality that is inclusive in nature. Explaining Article 14, Adv. Dr. Almeida discussed in detail equality before law and equal protection of law. Adv. Dr. Almeida using example explained how the different ground realities leads to different experiences of government policies and regulations. Therefore, the constitution recognizes that everybody is not equal on the ground and therefore the ground reality has to be factored for the treatment of the problem and positive discrimination is crucial.

How to Create Inclusive environment-

As esteemed expert, Adv. Dr. Almeida outlined in the session the requirement of developing an inclusive language, avoid stereotypes and assumptions, acknowledge and appreciate others contribution, listen to others empathetically and enable them to express their thoughts and opinions respectfully in order to build an inclusive society.

In an inclusive society, according to Adv. Dr. Almeida, women would not only have the equal right legally to take part in the workforce, but also have favourable environment for exercising their rights. Giving an observation by the Supreme Court, she quoted that the threat of sexual violence in work places hinders right to work for women enshrined in the constitution.

Inclusive policies need to be adopted according to Adv. Dr. Almeida like- like career counselling, affordable creches, lodging and transportation. This can help further unlock the gender-based disadvantages. She also explained the importance and need for making collaborative decisions, involving women in the formulation of policies.

Another way for making an inclusive society, is to provide access to services and resources- water, physical access to credit, technology. Access to resources will ensure that women are included in the development process. To receive credit, collateral needs to provided, but women despite working on the land does not have the land in their name and therefore does not have access to credit- thus hindering their development and such schemes makes the outcome redundant for women.

Concluding the session, Adv. Dr. Almeida advised taking pro-active steps and redress the issues that hamper inclusivity. Also to take into account plural realities of women in designing policies.

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