Panaji, Feb 13 (PTI) The ‘Difficult Dialogues’ conference on gender here articulated the need for a tracking and audit system to measure the unpaid work put in by women.

It also said that there was a need for cells against sexual harassment at workplaces as mandated by the law, and also exhorted women to approach these cells when they faced harassment.

A panel discussion on ‘Disrupting Masculinity at the Workplace’ suggested the need for a robust and simple tracking and audit system to calculate unpaid work put in by women.

The panel on ‘Portrayal of Gender in Cinema’ said that characters should be looked at from a gender secular frame by breaking the stereotypical space.

Education of Muslim women was identified as a dire need, along with strengthening the legal framework and government schemes, by the panel on ‘Gender Inequalities in Indian Muslims’.

A shift from shelter-based rehabilitation to an economic model was emphasised by the panel on ‘Trafficking and Vulnerability’. It added that migration centres were required as instances of trafficking were significant during the process of migration.

The ‘Transforming Gender Norms’ panel recommended starting gender education at a young age, highlighting the monumental role schools could play in transforming mindsets.

The panel on ‘Women in Education, Science and Technology’ suggested the need to look at removing the gender bias in the testing mechanism for entrance exams in the science and technology streams.

It said that policy formulation should take care of women’s participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Management) sectors in a more holistic way including entry, retention and movement of women into senior positions.

Male parenting and new ideas of fatherhood were discussed as part of ‘Gender Masculinity and Violence’ with the panel asking companies to have policies that encourage young fathers to invest more time in nurturing their families.

A panel on street children recommended the setting up of a separate ministry for child development with a special focus on street children.

An outcome of the #MeToo panel was to shift the focus from post trauma healing to having strong laws and mechanisms to prevent injustice in the first place. The panel also highlighted the need to involve men and sensitise them so that the campaign continued as a collaborative effort without a backlash.

The panel on ‘Women and the Law’ identified the need to make laws more accessible and easier to comprehend so that women could understand their rights within the family and get empowered.

The panelists discussing ‘Women in Politics’ highlighted the importance of getting the Women s Reservation Bill passed in Parliament, stating that, given the current patriarchal mindset, a push from pressure groups as well as the society as a whole was required.

The panel on ‘Gender, Fatherhood and Families’ said that fathers needed to be involved in family planning and child health schemes, adding that schools and colleges should have mandatory gender training programmes, for information and sensitisation, for boys.

Commenting at the conclusion of the three day summit, Surina Narula, founder of Difficult Dialogues said, “Delivering gender equality for everyone s benefit is a key agenda for India and for the South Asian region as a whole. We were able to identify the problem areas and recommend possible solutions.”

Narula added that policy recommendations made at the Difficult Dialogues 2018 summit would be crystallised and presented to policy makers.

The conference, an annual event held in Goa, saw the participation of leading international academics, policy makers, development experts, NGOs and grassroots gender workers.

The theme for the year was ‘Gender Equality For Everyone s Benefit?’, with Narula stating that delivering gender equality for the benefit of everyone was top priority for India as it has seen gross inequality due to gender discrimination over the years.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.