‘Gender equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a human issue, and it affects all of us’
We have often heard about gender inequality. We face this question time and again: how different genders in society are fighting for equal opportunities and choices?
Gender equity and equality, which I collectively described as “Gender Equ(al)ity”, is one of the pressing issues that is discussed and debated at the global level. It is so important that it is included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of G-20, the 2023 Presidency of which has been bestowed to India. It is in this context that I want to shed light, through this write-up, on the positive change that has been initiated by the G20 community in India as Women 20 (W20) which indeed is something that we all should welcome and collectively make the change we want and prosper as a society.
W20 is the official G-20 group focused on gender equity. Its primary objective is to ensure that gender considerations are mainstreamed into G20 discussions and translated into G20 leaders; declarations as policies and commitments that foster gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
The vision and mission, with which the G20 engagement group will be working, is to create a world of equality and equity, where every woman lives with dignity. The group will not only focus on removing all kinds of barriers that create hindrances or act as barriers to women-led development but to ensure an enabling environment and ecosystem for women to thrive, transcend and transform their lives as well as others.
To throw further light on this topic, it would not be odd to add that there are five set opportunities of W20 namely, Women’s Entrepreneurship, Grassroots women leadership, bringing the gender digital divide, Education and skill development and climate change.
Keeping these priorities in mind, I feel no hesitation in stating that for a developing country like India and a multi-religious society like Kashmir where women have been overshadowed by patriarchy the most, and this is the hope we need.
The most empowering thing about G20 in general and W20, in particular, is that it will help to bring awareness and change at the grassroots level, including key stakeholders of women from tribal and rural areas, from agricultural, handloom and handicraft sectors, micro and nano entrepreneur, SHGs, Anganwadi workers, adolescent girls and also Homemakers.
It won’t be surprising for me to say it or for you to hear it, that most of the stakeholders I mentioned are the women whose work and contribution have either been neglected or not valued much in society. Conducting interactive sessions on G20 and W20 in educational institutions like this with the aim to include engage and involve women in all segments and sectors is just the beginning of a dream that every woman present here has thought of.
It is an undeniable fact that in society, women play a crucial role; without their advancement, women’s development has been recognized to lead to prosperous societies overall.
Therefore, women’s empowerment is the key to ensuring society’s overall expansion and under G20 this can be achieved as women will have a big space to solve their issues or overcome them.
All in all, this huge step of making women central to the economy and equal to men in the market will empower women, and give confidence to working women and in future, we can have the change we as women want.
PS: Originally delivered as a speech in a seminar on “G-20 Summit 2023 and Opportunities for Kashmir” organized by GDC Sogam on 23rd February 2023.
The writer is BA 6th semester student at GDC Sogam (Lolab), Kupwara. Feedback at [email protected]