Kohima seminar analyses rights
Kohima, Oct. 11 (EMN): In spite of strides in the movement for gender equality, there is a need to consciously look into the lives of women and the society in general. The reason is, women in many societies, more so in Nagaland, still face challenges when it comes to socio-economic power, status, and position and issues of dependence.
The statement was made by Rev. Dr. Ellen Konyak Jamir, an associate professor for Pastoral Counselling and Psychotherapy at Oriental Theological Seminary (OTS) in Dimapur.
Jamir was speaking on the subject ‘Gender prerogative – respective women’ at a seminar that was conducted in Kohima. The seminar was moderated on the topic on ‘partnering in action towards international campaign for humanitarian norms, gender and child rights protection.’ It was organised by the Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) on October 11 at the Capital Convention Centre.
Although the status of women and their experiences are comparatively better off in the 21st century with the men and women serving together, Dr. Jamir pointed out, there still are millions of women around the world still struggling, at risk in many places, and still vulnerable as victims of crime, human and sex trafficking.
Over the years, she noted with regret, even as the Nagas seem to have come a long way, with evidence of progress in many areas, ‘When we look deeply into our society and talk about issues, there is prevalence of negativity, hopelessness, and apathy among many others. There is the ever-present political unrest and poor governance that affect ordinary people on so many levels. It’s a systemic issue.’
While societies are constantly changing and the affect of globalization is evident in our society with the rapid progress, Dr. Jamir wondered ‘are we able to catch up? Are we able to systematically grow? It seems not.’
According to her, there seems to be a struggle – ‘where we are changing and our circumstances forces us to change’ however, being an indigenous people group, we have our strong ties to our cultural roots and norms that continue to command our lives.
As womenfolk continue to suffer more so due to the patriarchal system, which has brought about differences in the way men and women think of each other and themselves, Dr. Jamir candidly asserted that cultural norms that exist to guide us, also need to be adapted and change according to the needs of our changing times. ‘Culture is never a dogma but it is in constant flux’ she added.
Referring to a research done by North East Network on the status of women in Nagaland, Dr. Jamir elaborating on the impact of our current scenario on the psychological, mental health of women specifically said gender differences occur particularly in the rates of common mental disorders -depression, anxiety and somatic complaints.
Women, she observed tend to predominate in these disorders posing a serious public health problem giving rise to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following such violence renders women in the largest single group of people affected by this disorder.
Taking into account all these and the ensuing issues that are on the rise, she maintained that though women in our society is at an disadvantage by virtue of being a woman, politically, culturally, economically, and religiously too, nevertheless, she asserted that women are an integral part of today’s society to function well and to make progress.
Therefore, she strongly asserted that what women go through and what makes them suffer, needs to be addressed and that the culture of silence and ‘compromise’ while pursuing justice when social evils prevail, as dictated by our societal standards need to be addressed.
To achieve this, she pointed that it may not be in the form of ‘big rallies, protests on the streets, or the hash-tags that make news headlines as the only worthy actions’ but in the everyday, conscious efforts on the part of everyone to stand up for justice.
While appreciating that many efforts have been made by the women organizations in our land to promote women’s worth and cause in our society, Dr. Jamir felt that things can be done better, especially in the decision-making platforms, to be filled in.
What Nagaland has now in terms of law and order, healthcare, education and opportunities are inadequate where in many rural places, the needs abound and the entities responsible are defunct, she maintained that empowering women would go a long way.
‘Empowering women means acknowledging and affirming their roles providing them opportunities to be educated, to live and work with dignity to be equal partners in the homes and beyond that’ added Dr. Jamir.
The president of the Indian Institute for Peace, Disarmament and Environmental Protection (IIPDEP), Nagpur, Dr. Balkrishna Kurvey spoke about international humanitarian norms; trainer and legal aid counsel of the Nagaland State Legal Services Authority, Limasenla spoke on Child Rights protection.
The state coordinator of the IIPDEP, Dr Longri highlighted how the organisation came into being while Dr P Ngully spoke in brief about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
During the programme, a poster campaign was launched by Dr. Balkrishna Kurvey. It was informed that the posters would be distributed in Naga-inhabited areas along borders.