Koraput: The Central University of Odisha has organized a Workshop on Gender Awareness and Sensitization at its Main Campus at Sunabeda in Koraput. The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the varsity took the responsibility and framed the function on Tuesday.
Namrata Chadha, eminent social activist & former member, Odisha State Women’s Commission was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
The programme was inaugurated by Prof Sharat Kumar Palita, Vice-Chancellor, CUO in the presence of Prof Asit Kumar Das, Registrar, CUO and Dr Minati Sahoo, Asst. Professor, Dept of Economics & Presiding Officer, Internal Complaints Committee.
After lighting the lamp by dignitaries, Officer, Internal Complaints Committee introduced the event. She explained the role of the ICC and the purpose of the event which was to sensitize the staff & students on gender issues and legal aspects of sexual harassment of women at workplace.
Prof A K Das, Registrar, CUO in his welcome address recalled his vast experience in north-east India and emphasised on mutual respect between genders. He lamented that even today pregnant women are being carried in cots. Citing the likes of Gargi & Maitreyi from ancient Indian mythology, he said how subsequently subjugation of women continued even today and lack of mutual respect will lead to the collapse of the society. He welcomed Smt. Chadha on the occasion.
Prof Sharat Kumar Palita, Vice-Chancellor, CUO in his inaugural address emphasised on the biological aspects of gender and connected it to its social relevance. He explained that with the evolution of life systems gender evolved from unisex and the mother always has a greater role to play in the reproduction process. He cited that mitochondria-the powerhouse present in each cell of higher organisms including man is contributed by the mother and compared women with Ma Durga. He lamented that there are very few successful women on the top mentioning Indira Nooyi, Kalpana Chawla & Chanda Kochhar and drew reference to the UNDP Gender Inequality & Gender Gap Index where India ranks poorly. He expressed hope that today’s workshop will pave the way for Mahatma Gandhi’s dreams of women’s emancipation in India.
Namrata Chadha in her deliberation explained the various socio-political and legal aspects of gender discrimination prevalent in the society citing numerous gender stereotyping. She explained the clauses of Visakha guidelines & salient features of the ‘Sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition & redressal) Act 2013’ and the role of Internal Complaints Committee & Local Complaints Committee. She asked both men and women to shade inhibition and work towards gender equality. She answered many queries raised by the students and encouraged the women to speak up against sexual harassment.
The vote of thanks was presented by Dr Nupur Patnaik, Faculty, Dept of Sociology and ICC member. The programme was attended by other ICC members Dr Satabdi Behera, Bijayananda Pradhan, Dr Sourav Gupta, ICC students Representatives Karishma Rana, Laxmipriya Hati, Jagat Patro, other faculty, staff, research scholars & students in large numbers.