Pune: The Women’s Cell at FLAME University organized a series of virtual discussions on women and work, titled “Imagining Equal Futures: Women and Work in a Post-Pandemic World”, based on this year’s International Women’s Day. This year, the theme was “Gender Equality Today for Sustainable Tomorrow”. The virtual sessions were held from 8th to 10th March 2022.
Dr. Dishan Kamdar, Vice-Chancellor, FLAME University, said, “It is crucial that our younger generation is sensitised and educated on gender related issues, if we want to improve the workplaces of the future and create equitable opportunities for all. As an higher education institution, FLAME University is committed to contribute to this larger goal. The recently organised talk series not only allowed our students to learn from leaders across different walks of life, but also allowed our faculty to engage and explore collaboration opportunities with practitioners.”
The key speakers were Ms. Miral Chatterjee, Director of Social Security Team, SEWA, Ahmedabad, who delivered a session on ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment: Lessons from the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)’, Prof. Ravinder Kaur, Faculty of Sociology and Social Anthropology, IIT- Delhi, who shared insights on the topic ‘Equal Futures Require Men to Share Women’s Unpaid Work Equally! Gendered Roles and Female Labour Force Participation in India’, and Prof. Mangala Subramaniam, Faculty of Sociology and Butler Chair Director, Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence, Purdue University, who spoke on ‘Gendered Impact of Covid: How Can Universities Support Faculty?’.
Ms. Mirai Chatterjee, Director of Social Security Team, SEWA, Ahmedabad, said, “We have learned that women are second to none, they are so eager to learn new ideas and grab new opportunities, perhaps these have been denied to women all these years in our society. But with patience and encouragement, as they are trained, they develop their skills which makes them move forward like anybody else.”
Prof. Ravinder Kaur, Faculty of Sociology and Social Anthropology, IIT-Delhi, opined, “All women want to work, however, ultimately women continuously take a backseat due to family goals, and also gender goals. We need to inculcate un-gendering of tasks at home, from the school itself. Equality is everybody’s work, and whether it’s the State, men, women, other identities, everybody needs to be involved in it. We need programs that encourage men and women to share household chores, and policies that provide support to women in terms of access to jobs, safe work environments, and access to child care.”
Prof. Mangala Subramaniam, Professor of Sociology and Butler Chair Director, Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence, Purdue University, said, “We often tend to assume that good researchers are good leaders, however, that is not true, and not all good researchers are good leaders. We also need to get past gender stereotypes. Being very optimistic, we can imagine equal and equitable futures, but that requires a lot of work by all of us, and especially by leaders of higher education. Institutions and leaders must enable women’s career progress to take on a leadership role; there is no shortcut to this.”
The women’s cell committee at FLAME University consists of Prof. Juhi Sidharth, Prof. Shalaka Shah, Prof. Aileen Blaney, Prof. Garima Ranjan, Prof. Smita Choudry, Prof. Tannistha Samanta, Prof. Divya Balan, Prof. Kasturi Chatterjee, Tejashree Thakar.