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Foundations Of Gender-based Violence: Historical Context And Definitions

Foundations of Gender-based Violence: Historical Context and Definitions

Session Report
Reet Lath

The inaugural session of the ‘Ending Gender-Based Violence’ was organized by the Gender Impact Studies Centre, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi on March 5th, 2024. The session opened with a poignant acknowledgment of the persistent challenges encountered in addressing gender-based violence in India. 

Professor Vibhuti Patel, leading the panel of experts, delivered a comprehensive overview of the historical context and legal frameworks surrounding gender-based violence. Delving into the evolution of the women’s rights movement globally and in India, Professor Patel highlighted key milestones and challenges encountered in addressing gender-based violence, emphasizing its systemic nature rooted in patriarchal structures and societal norms.

Legislative Frontiers: Unraveling Reforms and Challenges

The session extensively discussed legislative reforms aimed at combating gender-based violence, including the landmark Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act. Professor Patel elucidated the importance of addressing systemic barriers and societal norms perpetuating violence against women and transgender persons. 

Furthermore, she underscored the need for intersectional approaches that consider the unique challenges faced by marginalized communities, including women from rural and tribal backgrounds, and transgender individuals. By examining the limitations of existing legislation and advocating for inclusive policy frameworks, the session emphasized the importance of holistic interventions that address the root causes of gender-based violence and prioritize the rights and safety of all individuals.

Navigating Real-Life Challenges and Emerging Gender Issues

Real-life case studies, including the Public Interest Litigation filed by Dr. Sabu George and others concerning the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, were examined. Professor Patel shed light on the complicity of authorities and diagnostic center owners in violating the act, leading to adverse sex ratios and selective elimination of female fetuses. She highlighted the critical role of legal advocacy in challenging systemic injustices and advocating for gender-sensitive policies.

Recent legislative developments, such as the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019, were critically examined, highlighting concerns regarding its limitations and inadequate provisions for transgender persons’ developmental needs. The session underscored the importance of ongoing advocacy and legal reforms to address these shortcomings, emphasizing the need for inclusive and rights-based approaches in drafting and implementing legislation.

Moreover, the session addressed emerging challenges, including cyberbullying, honor crimes, and the exacerbation of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Patel emphasized the disproportionate impact on marginalized communities and the need for holistic interventions that address the root causes of violence and provide comprehensive support services to survivors.

The significance of community engagement and sensitization to address internalized misogyny and traditional practices perpetuating gender-based violence was highlighted. She stressed the role of education, advocacy, and legal reforms in fostering a more equitable society, emphasizing the importance of grassroots movements, civil society initiatives, and youth-led activism.


In conclusion, the inaugural session underscored the urgent need for collective action and comprehensive approaches involving all stakeholders to effectively address gender-based violence in India. The program aims to foster dialogue, raise awareness, and empower participants to contribute to ending gender-based violence, calling for sustained advocacy, policy reforms, and community mobilization to create an inclusive and violence-free society.

The session concluded with a dynamic Q&A session, where participants engaged with the panelists, seeking clarification on various aspects of gender-based violence and policy responses. Participants expressed their commitment to driving positive change and building a more inclusive and equitable society free from gender-based violence. The session ended with a call to action, urging participants to join hands in the ongoing efforts to combat gender-based violence and create a safer, more just society for all.

Acknowledgment: Reet Lath is a Research Intern at IMPRI.

Read more event reports of IMPRI here:

The Role of Policies in Addressing Gender-based Violence: An Overview

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