UN Women will partner with Kerala’s Gender Park to take forward projects and campaigns aimed at securing gender parity in South Asia.
Setting the context for the tie-up, officials of the UN Women MCO (multi-country office) had a meeting with Kerala Minister for Health and Social Justice K K Shailaja at UN House in New Delhi last month, where the broad framework of the co-operation came up for discussion. UN Women in New Delhi covers India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise the tie-up will be signed in the presence of Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan next month.
As directed by the Chief Minister, a detailed project report on the collaboration is being drawn up. The partnership aims at making The Gender Park, a gender equity and empowerment initiative, as the South Asian hub of UN Women.
Three key areas of co-operation of the partnership will be setting up of the Gender Data Centre at The Gender Park, Kozhikode, holding events during the 64th session of Commission on Status of Women (CSW64) in March 2020 and 75th session of UN General Assembly in September 2020 and launch of a focussed campaign called “16 Days of Activism in Kerala “ from 25th November to 10th December ,2019.
“This partnership marks recognition of Kerala’s long and hard campaigns and policy initiatives to achieve gender justice and parity. It will also help us present Kerala’s long-drawn history and experience in gender equity movement before a wider regional and global audience,” the Chief Minister said on the proposal.
“I am sure that this collaboration will broaden and deepen various pioneering initiatives for gender equity and women empowerment launched by the Social Justice Department of Kerala through The Gender Park,” said Shailaja.
“We are proud to be formally associated with the Gender Park, our long- standing partner, and the Department of Social Justice, in forwarding the shared agenda of gender equality and empowerment of women. We hope to work towards irreversible and sustainable change for all women and girls everywhere,” said Nishtha Satyam, Deputy Representative and Officer-in-Charge, UN Women MCO.
Besides the Minister, the state was represented at the meeting by Dr. A. Sampath, Ex. MP, Special Representative, Government of Kerala, and Dr PTM Sunish, CEO, The Gender Park.
Besides Satyam, UN Women was represented by Anju Pandey, Programme Specialist, Sanya Seth, Programme Analyst, Jeevan Kanakkassery, Communications Analyst, Ishita Kaul, Consultant, and Noopur Jhunjhunwala, Monitoring, Evaluation & Partnerships Coordinator.
“The Minister and the state representatives at the meeting briefed the UN Women team about the activities of The Gender Park, which is a platform that brings together gender policy, research, education and social initiatives towards addressing the existing gender gaps in the society,” Dr Sunish noted.
Building on the previous collaboration between the Department of Social Justice and UN Women (on International Conference on Gender Equality in 2015), the latter has proposed to be an equal partner in the Gender Park initiatives and extend support in setting up a Gender Data Centre within the International Institute for Gender and Development.
The forum also offered support in up scaling The Gender Park initiatives to its other offices in Sri Lanka and Maldives and help the Social Justice Department in drafting a policy on social entrepreneurship.
A convergence centre for all the gender and development work in the state, the facilities at the Gender Park includes a Gender Library, Gender Museum and Training Centre on sustainable entrepreneurship, social business and markets for women from economically backward social groups.
The UN Women MCO seeks to strengthen women’s rights by working with women, men, feminists, women’s networks, governments, local authorities and civil society to create national strategies to advance gender equality in line with national and international priorities.