Kerala ‘lighthouse of the global south’: UN Women

Thiruvananthapuram: UN Women on Monday hailed the south-Indian state of Kerala as a ‘lighthouse of the global south’ in women empowerment. The UN forum made this remark as it entered into an agreement with the State government that would involve setting up of a gender data hub to collect nuanced date and influence policy formulation in a way that focuses on women’s right. 

The agreement was made between UN Women and The Gender Park, an autonomous body under the State government. P.T.M. Sunish, CEO of The Gender Park and the UN Deputy Country representative Nishta Sathyam signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) at Cliff House, the Chief Minister’s official residence here. As a part of the agreement, UN Women will offer The Gender Park capacity building and project development for the cause of empowerment of women in South Asia.  

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Kerala Minister of Health, Social Justice and Women and Child Development, K.K. Shailaja elaborating on the functions of The Gender Park had said earlier that, it intends to provide gender-related policy advice, its own independent research, education and social initiatives for the cause of reducing gender gaps in society. 

Highlighting some of the prominent projects of the body, she said it acts as a convergence point for all gender-related activity, i.e., a gender library, museum and even an International Women’s Trade Centre (IWTC), which would be the first global trade centre for women.

She also said that the empowerment of transgenders is also part of The Gender Park’s initiatives. 

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Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of the State Pinarayi Vijayan called the move a step in the right direction for a more equitable and just society. He said “Kerala is one of the best places in the region to emerge as a hub of gender discourse” and that Kerala has the highest rate of employment among women in the country while citing statistics that showed there has been an increase of women employment from 16.4% in 2017-18 to 20.4% in 2018-19. 

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