National Webinar: Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in view of Covid-19

National Webinar: Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in view of Covid-19
A National Webinar was organised by Women’s Cell of Centre for Women’s Studies, IIS (deemed to be University) on the topic “Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in view of Covid-19” on Thursday, July 30th, 2020. Overall 202 participants from all over the country registered for the webinar. The participants were from many states . The resource person was Ms. Vibhuti Joshi Deputy Director, Cecoedecon (Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society), India, working from London. Cecoedecon is an NGO working for addressing the needs of underprivileged and marginalised people of Rajasthan. Ms. Vibhuti is an alumina of the University of Sussex and has been working actively in development sector for more than 8 years in the areas related to sustainable development, climate change, agriculture and food sovereignty, women’s empowerment, human rights based approach to development.
In the commencement of the session Dr.Ruchi Goswami ,Department of Journalism and Mass Communication ,gave the brief introduction of IIS (deemed to be University) .Dr.Pragya Sharma, Department of Sociology introduced Ms Vibhuti Joshi and welcomed her and the participants to the webinar.
Ms. Joshi delivered lecture on the topic Gender Equality :Issues and Challenges during Covid 19 Circumstances. She started the session by introducing Gender equality as a phenomenon that recognises the need of both males and females and addresses them. Then she continued by sharing that the limit gains that were achieved over the decade is affected during the pandemic of Covid-19. Covid-19 emerged not only as a medical emergency but also have socio-economic effects all around the world.
Ms Joshi pointed out that this crisis has exposed every sector to the economic whiplash but the major sectors that were hit the worst during the Covid-19 induced lockdown are, travel, accommodation and food, real estate, wholesale and retail, business and manufacturing. Women are more associated with all these sectors that resulted in women to more likely be affected socio-economically during the pandemic.
In her presentation, Ms Vibhuti Joshi focused on various aspects of inequality faced by women during pandemic. Women working in the informal sectors are more vulnerable to pandemic situations. Women are also facing digital divide more than men. Even while working from home a female simultaneously has to care of children. Women have unique healthcare needs in general. The spread of Covid-19 hampered the ANC and PNC of pregnant women. Women in rural and remote areas could not have access to menstrual hygiene products during the lockdown.

 Female Corona warriors also faced physical and verbal abuse on duty and were forced to keep away from their families to dispose their duties. The PPE kits are manufactured for a six-feet rugged male that does not properly fit a female, which may result to more exposure. She shared various reports and data that suggested that how women have suffered during the pandemic. She also discussed about the performance of various countries in dealing with and controlling of the spread of the COVID-19 that has female leaders, such as Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, etc.
After Ms. Joshi’s session, there was an open question answer session for participants  which was moderated by Dr.Shipra Mathur,Advisor,Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. In this session situation of women in Rajasthan during the lockdown was also analyzed. It was suggested that community based mechanism needs to set up to cater the needs of women. Dr. Mathur also pointed out that India holds 127th rank in global gender equality ratio and there is a long way to go. The session concluded with  discussion on solutions for betterment of women's condition in pandemic era .In the end Dr. Shipra Mathur thanked Ms. Vibhuti Joshi for the enlightened lecture based on facts, participants and members of Women’s Cell for making Webinar a success.