“Pull your sleeves up and let the aisle be rolled out.” ‘The God’s Own Country’ might need to rechristen itself as ‘the Goddess’ Own Country’ in no time when the proposed ‘Gender Park’ will open its gates for the upholders of equality. Yes, it’s going to render a moment of sigh for the advocates of gender equity when the country is all set to witness the first-of-its-kind state-of-the-art gender park. Though the name seems to be ambiguous about the purpose of such an establishment, contrary to the popular belief, it’s not a park for exploring the flora and fauna as such.
The Gender Park, an autonomous body which is the brainchild of the Department of Social Justice, Govt of Kerala, has been set up to meet the urgent requirement of the restructuring of the social consciousness towards the women in the society through transformations in various fields by incorporating this vulnerable segment by means of participation and the consequent empowerment. It is indeed a bid to make the ‘pink’ fly as high as the ‘blue’. Clothed with a series of manifold actions and agendas, the park also intends to clamber the ladder to the status of the first gender university in the country, once the South Asian Research Centre – Gender Development (SARC-GD) is set up under it’s aegis. Completely devoted to the cause of the gender development, the project is about to hit the ground with an outlay of Rs. 100 crores, for which the foundation stone has already been laid in 2012 at Kozhikode in a 24 acres campus. Headed by Dr. P. T Mohammad Sunish, the gender park office headquartered at Thiruvananthapuram, had begun its functions of first phase as early as 2013. A week long gender fest was celebrated during 8th – 17th March, 2012 as a token of embracing the concerns of gender balance. Apart from the anticipated research activities and imparting of entrepreneurship and leadership skills among the women community, the establishment also seeks the unearthing of the role of women in the concealed anecdotes of history and to accord them to the sphere of acknowledgement and recognition. The project comprises a space for the South Asian Research Centre – Gender Development (SARC-GD) along with other features such as information points, library & museum, residential units and so forth.
The innovation was geared up when the flagship programme of ‘She Taxi’, an all women guided transport service was flagged off in association with Maruti Suzuki on 19th November, 2013 in order to ensure the safety of women passengers particularly during nights. Taking the move much forward, the state capital has already joined the hands with the UN Women, to be the host for the 3-day International Conference on Gender Equality from 12-14 November, 2015. The much awaited symposium is expected to brainstorm on the core theme of “Gender, Governance and Inclusion” with special insistence on various factors such as citizenship, health, education, law, role of media and so on. Conceived as a path changer, the park will also be a home for a variety of programs within the domains of culture, media, security and law. In its compliance with the objective of shaping a platform for the dissemination of the acquired knowledge, the team is over it’s endeavours for commencing academic courses ranging from diplomas to the doctorate programs as well. After all, it’s a new feather in the cap of the aficionados who are on their struggles and perseverance to reach out on par with the ‘blue’ clan.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Adarsh Vijay, our intern.