SHILLONG, March 31 - There is a need to unlearn the traditionally imposed gender myths as has been pointed out during a panel discussion on �Unlearning gender roles: Striving towards an equal society� which was organised here on Saturday.
This panel discussion was part of a programme wherein the Martin Luther Christian University released its in- house published book titled �Waiting for an Equal World: Gender in India�s North East by Padma Shri awardee, Patricia Mukhim.
The panelists included Dr Govind Kelkar, Patricia Mukhim, Sanjoy Hazarika, Sukalpa Bhatthacharya, Toki Blah, Karen Donoghue and Jennifer War of Centre for Gender Studies, MLCU.
Many essential points emerged in the discussion, some of them being the urgent need for more representation of women in key arenas and agencies like the police force whereby more transparency and accountability can be assured with the inclusion of women. A need was also felt of more empowerment of women as most often, a matrilineal system is not empowering enough.
The discussion noted that there is also the need to give more recognition to the key roles that women play, for example, the women that acted as moderators during the violent episodes in some parts in NE. It also said that there are also issues that the North Eastern women have to grapple with like witch hunting and their lack of documents during the recent NRC move. The discussion further noted that there should also be initiatives to help uneducated, unwed young mothers whose number is increasing daily.
The panel also noted that other elements that have to be reconsidered are the recently passed KHADC Bills that severely discriminate local women who marry outside their tribe. Another unfortunate reality is that women cannot control the property they own.
The panel came to a conclusion that an effective solution to all this is to make discourses about gender more inclusive and open all the while letting go of age old traditions. �This is one way of preventing hyper-masculinity that in turn helps in checking the spike in violence against women and all these measures should begin from one�s own home and family,� it noted.