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Women's Movement In India: Historical Evolution And Achievements – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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Women's Movement in India: Historical Evolution and Achievements

Session Report
Prasangana Paul

IMPRI Centre for Human Dignity and Development, Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi conducted an Online National Winter School Program, a One-Month Immersive Online Law and Public Policy Awareness Certificate Training Course and Internship Program in November-December 2023.

This Course, spread over a month, introduced the participants to the overarching theme of the UN, Activism against Gender-Based Violence, fostering Human Rights Principle. It initiated dialogue on the fundamental and core values of promoting Human Rights and Ending Gender-Based Violence.

On the 1st  Day our speaker, Professor Vibhuti Patel, visiting distinguished Professor, IMPRI, started the session by giving introductory remarks on the broader theme.

Historical Evolution of Women’s Movement

The session led by Professor Vibhuti Patel, a distinguished visiting professor at IMPRI, commenced with her illuminating introductory remarks on the broader theme of the campaign against gender-based violence. The presentation, which centered around the profound exploration of the “Women’s Movement in India: Historical Evolution and Achievements,” unfolded as a comprehensive journey through the annals of women’s struggles in the country.

Professor Patel’s insightful talk traversed through the historical evolution of the women’s movement, emphasizing its pivotal role in shaping the sociopolitical landscape and addressing noteworthy achievements along the way. The professor, an esteemed expert in the field, shed light on the persistent emergency of gender-based violence, highlighting various forms such as trafficking, forced child labor, forced marriages, and the evolving complexity introduced by cyber technology.

Addressing the gathering, Professor Vibhuti Patel emphasized the fundamental connection between the right of women and children to live freely and the necessity for robust support structures dedicated to gender justice. In a global context, she asserted that traditional wars often play out on women’s bodies, citing examples like the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia or the entrenched violence in regions like Israel and Palestine. Quoting findings from the United Nations, she emphasized the alarming prevalence of violence against women and its ghastly escalation in the post-pandemic world.

The session provided a stark reminder of the urgent need for collective action to address these pervasive issues, urging societies to confront and redress systemic inequalities that perpetuate violence against women and marginalized communities. Professor Patel’s insights illuminated the complex interplay between global conflicts, gender-based violence, and the imperative for international cooperation in fostering a safer and more equitable world.

The discussion took a historical perspective with a retrospective glance into the early struggles of the International Feminist Movement in the 1970s. Professor Patel’s adept navigation through key periods illuminated the evolution of feminist ideologies and the transformative impact of women’s activism on societal attitudes. The presentation seamlessly integrated historical context with contemporary perspectives, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic nature of the movement. The professor emphasized the intersectionality of the movement with other societal issues and its pivotal role in challenging systemic inequalities. This multifaceted approach illuminated the evolving landscape of the women’s movement, connecting past struggles with current challenges for a more inclusive understanding.

Highlighting achievements ranging from legal reforms to cultural shifts in attitudes towards gender roles, Professor Patel’s talk concluded by lauding her expertise and engaging presentation style. She made the complex narrative accessible and inspiring for all participants. The session, informative in exploring the past, also served as a catalyst for continued dialogue and advocacy in the ongoing pursuit of gender equality. The urgency to challenge and reform systems and structures perpetuating violence against women, sexual minorities, and the marginalized echoed throughout the session, emphasizing the need for sustained collective efforts to bring about lasting change.

Read more event reports of IMPRI here:

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IMPRI, a startup research think tank, is a platform for pro-active, independent, non-partisan and policy-based research. It contributes to debates and deliberations for action-based solutions to a host of strategic issues. IMPRI is committed to democracy, mobilization and community building.

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