THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Kerala has become the first state in the country to roll out a Transgender Policy. ‘The State Policy for Transgenders in Kerala 2015’ was released by Chief Secretary(CS) Jiji Thomson at the inaugural session of ‘International Conference on Gender Equality’. AkkaiPadmashali, a transgender activist from Karnataka, received the first copy of the policy.
“This is a watershed (moment), a very important event. For a long time, transgenders have not received their due in the state’s developmental framework. I understand from the Gender Park that we may be the first state in the country to have a rights-based policy on transgenders,” the CS said.
The event was inaugurated by Governor P Sathasivam, who said legal empowerment must become one of the stepping stones of women’s empowerment. “Legal literacy is of critical importance if women were to know their rights and obligations and how to use them,” he said.
The insights from the deliberations to be held at the Conference will be compiled as ICGE Statement 2015. Among the many distinguished academicians and gender activists attending ICGE is NailaKabeer, a Bangladesh-born socio-economist, who is professor of Gender and Development at London School of Economics(LSE).
In her keynote address, Nailaanalysed the reasons that led up to women’s empowerment in Bangladesh. Borrowing from the studies by fellow socio-economists, she argued that the steady rise in the female labour force participation in Bangladesh had helped to bridge the gender gap.
The participation of Bangladeshi women in the garment industry and microfinance sector had contributed to this, she said. According to Naila, Dhaka had managed to achieve this when it moved away from the capital-intensive male-dominated jute industry, where labour unions were prevalent.
In contrast, India still depended on large- scale establishments with more than 500 workers, which had a dominant male workforce. “India also had small scale establishments with less than 10 workers. What it lacked was a missing middle (segment),“ she said.
The three-day conference is being organised by Gender Park. Social Justice Minister M K Muneer said that after ‘She Taxi’, the next big Gender Park projects are ‘She Buses’ and ‘Night Eatery Street’ as part of the Department’s ‘Food on Wheels’ programme. Industries Minister P K Kunhalikkutty, Director of Social Justice V N Jithendran, renowned dancer Mallika Sarabhai, P K Sreemathi MP and Gender Park CEO PT M Sunish were among those who spoke.
The New Indian Express
By Express News Service Published: 13th November 2015 04:24 AM Last Updated: 13th November 2015 04:43 AM