Jamia Hamdard organizes webinar on “COVID 19 Pandemic: Impact of lockdown on the personal and professional lives of women”

New Delhi: We all are going through a lot of physical as well as mental stress due to the COVID 19 pandemic and in this unprecedented time, we can just try to keep ourselves healthy and safe and pray for the safety of one and all around us.

Although both men and women are equally being affected by COVID 19, research on previous epidemics, such as SARS and Ebola, indicates that women are impacted differently by health crises and epidemics than men. Women are often the main caregivers in their homes, communities, and health facilities, which puts them at higher risks. Incidences and reports of violence against women within the household have also risen due to lockdown. All these things put a great deal of psychological stress on them.

Keeping these points in view, Women Cell, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, organized a National Webinar on “COVID 19 Pandemic: Impact of Lockdown on personal and Professional Life of Women”. This was the second Webinar in the series of webinars being organized by the Department of CSE.

The webinar saw the participation of eminent personalities from various spheres of life as guest speakers who shared their experiences and ideas for dealing with this crisis. Chief Guest of the event was a renowned Bollywood actress and singer Mrs. Salma Agha.

The event was held under the patronage of Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Seyed Ehtesham Hasnain, Hon’ble Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ahmed Kamal. The Chairman of the event was Professor M. Afshar Alam. The webinar was organized by Dr. Sameena Naaz Associate Professor, Department of CSE, Jamia Hamdard who is the coordinator of women cell, Department of CSE along with the teacher coordinators Dr. Suraiya Parveen, Mrs. Shabina Ghafir and Ms. Refia Wiquar.

The webinar was attended by faculty members from Jamia Hamdard & several other Universities all over India along with people from different professional backgrounds and homemakers as well. It got an overwhelming response and had close to 650 registrations. There were participants from all over India and a few registrations from outside India as well. The event was organized on the Google Meet platform.

Following eminent personalities Participated as guest speakers:

1. Ms. Suman Nalwa – Dy. Commissioner of Police in Special Branch.
2. Dr. Niloufer Adil Kazmi – Former Secretary, UGC
3. Dr. Mamta Tripathi – Poet, Hindustani classical singer, Theatre Artist
4. Mrs. Husnara Salim (Naheed) – President of Maulana Azad Foundation for Education and Social Amity (MAFESA), Grand Nience of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad our first education minister.
5. Mrs. Sajda Khatoon – Educationist and a Happiness volunteer of IofC (Initiative of Change)

The webinar was commenced by Ms. Shabina Ghafir by extending a warm welcome to the chief guest and other distinguished guest speakers. Ms. Refia Wiquar talked about the importance of women in Islam and Islamic preaching’s during the time of any pandemic.

Prof. M Afshar Alam, Dean School of Engineering Sciences and Technology thanked the chief guest other guest speakers for their presence and enlightened everyone on the major role being played by women in fighting this pandemic. He talked about the role of women from rural areas of our country and how the job opportunities for the urban women population may rise due to an increase in “work from home culture”.

The chief guest for the event, Noted Bollywood Singer and Actress Salma Agha started by speaking about the importance of women in Islam. She was quoted saying “Being patient and tolerant is a basic characteristic of a women and hence they are the pillars on which the families are resting in these unprecedented times”. Not only within their homes but women are playing a very significant role outside their homes in the society also. They are extensively involved in the charity work both as a part of NGO’s as well as on a personal level. She also talked about the plight of the women in our country who are raising their voices against undemocratic activities that are happening nowadays and laid emphasis on this that all of us should support them.

Dr. Niloufer Kazmi, Former Secretary, UGC

The first guest speaker was Dr. Niloufer Kazmi. She talked about three aspects in which women as well as the whole of mankind have been affected by this pandemic.

Economically India as well as the whole world has gone to a standstill. She talked about job losses, pay cuts, and uncertainties about jobs. She talked about the impact of lockdown on working women as well as homemakers.
As per reports from various agencies she discussed how much unpaid work a female does in comparison to the male counterpart. She talked about the extra work related to children having online classes, no domestic help available, taking care of the elderly, etc. She very rightly highlighted that how working women especially in teaching and research have to put their research work at backburner as priority is family at this moment. On the other hand, men have ample time and hence their contribution to research submissions has increased by 50%.

The second aspect that Dr. Niloufer spoke on was related to a substantial increase in the cases of domestic violence as reported by the National Commission for Women. Not only women but children and the elderly are also being abused more during this lockdown. This is also stressed by the UN chief where he asked governments all over the world to take measures to curb domestic violence. The third aspect taken up by her was mental health. She talked about how all these psychological factors are having a negative impact on the mental health of women. Asserting the positive side she says that this pandemic has given time to nature to heal itself.

Talk by Mrs. Mamta Tripathi, Hindustani Classical Singer
Mamta Triphathi, a known Hindustani Classical Singer, Theatre Artist, Poetess, was very concerned about the real problems faced by women and artists because of lockdown and also about its long term impact on the girl child, migrant laborers, and society as a whole. She started with how artists, singers, dancers, TV/Radio artists, village cultural groups faced financial problems to earn their livelihood. The entertainment industry was severely affected by lockdown.The whole industry with thousands of supporting staff/employees lost their living and there is no solution. Studios are locked, it is genuinely difficult to pay rent or to pay employees without any work.

Mamta Tripathi concluded with the question about senior citizens who are living alone. The government has a regulation that they are still not supposed to move out. She asked how will they manage their day to day work without any domestic help?

Talk by Mrs. Husnara Salim, President, Maulana Azad Foundation for Education & Social Amity

Mrs. Husnara Salim, President, Maulana Azad Foundation for Education & Social Amity started with a heartfelt confession that she has never been to such a situation of being stuck in the house. She told that though no one discusses such things many faced lots of agony and mental trauma because of social disconnection. Though media connectivity was there still there was restlessness because of lockdown. She felt that isolation due to this lockdown has damaged the mental health of many and this may cause social health problems, emotional disturbances, and a lot more. She advised that we need to be vocal about it.
She discussed the economic consequences of lock down. Since many laborers have migrated from metro cities there could be a shortage of workers. They may demand high wages which may increase the cost of products. She advised taking more care of them as most of them are jobless and are affected the most because of the ill-timed situation. Regarding women, she says that they are supposed to be multitasking. They are taken for granted for all the support a family needs. So, she has no time and no personal space for herself.

Talk by Ms. Sajda Khatoon, Educationist and Social Worker

Mrs. Sajda Khatoon started her talk by giving the positive aspect of lockdown on women who cannot go out to work. As the work from home culture has increased due to lockdown, so these ladies can get an opportunity to pursue their career along with other responsibilities at home. She discussed the benefits from the point of view of women who do not have many family responsibilities, that they can go ahead and indulge in their hobbies and other passion as well.

The event ended with a vote of thanks proposed by Dr. Sameena Naaz. She thanked all the eminent guests for their kind presence. She also thanked the Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean, School of Engineering Sciences and Technology for providing an opportunity to conduct the webinar. The efforts of all the Committee Members and the technical staff was also much appreciated. Along with it she also put on record how grateful she was to the participants for their enthusiasm. The event ended with the National Anthem.