Mahindra University hosted week-long gender sensitization and equality workshops to commemorate International Women’s Day recently. The programme was planned with the university’s goal of educating future citizens for a better world, and students and faculty on the challenges and injustices women face in India and around the world.
The theme of this year’s International Women's Day celebrations was based on the UN’s narrative, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. Various activities were organised as part of this initiative with active participation from both students and faculty.
The activities included an essay competition on “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”; and a debate on “Raising the legal age of marriage for women: A step towards right to equality or just a political move”. The University also hosted ‘Blindspot’, an interactive workshop aimed at tackling the difficult topic of casual sexism in society and gender sensitization among participants through demos and videos.
Mahindra University vice-chancellor Yajulu Medury said, “Gender equity and increasing understanding about the challenges that women face has become a critical issue. Women in our country have a critical role to play in converting our economy into a $5 trillion economy. Yet, despite their potential, women often struggle to join the workforce and contribute to the economy. Women in our country are capable of wearing any hat, and it is now critical for all of us to ensure that they get all of the opportunities that they deserve.”
The panel discussion on ‘building gender-equal spaces: from policy to practise’ was another intriguing activity held during this event. Various panellists discussed their personal journeys; the challenges that women encounter in male-dominated industries; and critically pondered on the idea of the kind of policy development and strategies to be designed to correct implementation flaws in building gender-equal spaces during this panel discussion.
Apart from these engaging activities, the week-long event featured technical talks by eminent women speakers and trailblazers such as Reena Dayal, the CEO of Benzaiten Advisors and founder of Quantum Ecosystem Technology Council of India; Margarida Telo Da Gama, a Physics professor from the University of Lisbon, Portugal; and Nandini Trivedi, a Physics professor from the Ohio State University, United States.
Reena Dayal focused on new-age technologies such as the quantum ecosystem and its future prospects in India, as well as the hurdles faced by women in technology and innovation leadership roles. Nandini Trivedi spoke about the contemporary subjects of quantum information interspersed with her own experience of facing and overcoming difficulties as a woman scientist to pursue a research career. Margarida Telo Da Gama spoke about gender bias and other problems in academic leadership roles around the world.
In the essay competition, Ambati Swechcha won and received a cash prize of Rs 5,000, Trishul K won the second prize of Rs 4,000, Soumya Nema and Teena Sachdeva won the third prize of Rs 3,000. In the debate competition, Sakshi Reddy took first place with a prize of Rs 5,000, followed by Ashray Gupta, first runner up with Rs 4,000 and VV Saikiran, second runner up with Rs 3,000.