Workshop on gender sensitization
A two days workshop on gender sensitization on violence against women & new laws for change started on April 24, 2016 at the SP Office Conference Hall, Kohima. Organized by DEF Kohima in collaboration with North East Network (NEN), the objective of the workshop was to broaden the understanding of violence against women in India from a gender and women’s rights perspective, working with the new laws for change and the role of police i.e sexual harassment of women at workplace, domestic violence act, criminal law amendment act and POSCO. Shri Akheto Sema, IPS, ADG (Law & Order) as the chief guest, graced the inaugural session. Short speeches were delivered by Sr. Superintendent of Police and Dr. Anungla Aier, Principal, Science College Jotsoma and member, Governing Board NEN. Dr. Anungla Aier gave a brief introduction about the NEN, which has been working in Nagaland for the last 20 years not only advocating for gender equality but on livelihood issues. Aier was of the view that natural resource management, livelihood issues are connected to gender issues. Further stating how Naga women and outsiders tend to think that women in Nagaland are the most privileged women in the country, which externally appears to be true but so much of patriarchal values are incorporated in the everyday life of the Naga society that Nagas do not realize the inequality and discrimination. Both genders are equally responsible, stated Aier who also added, “Culture conditions our entire thinking process. In the name of protecting our culture, lots of human rights violations are committed.” Shri Akheto Sema said that we tend to forget that we are actually dealing with the people who are most stigmatized by society. Pointing out that the police tend to become insensitive in their everyday dealings, he urged the officers to put themselves into the shoes of the victims, to be sensible and try to act as per the situation and circumstances. He admitted that there is often an inbuilt biasness that Nagas have towards women and that everyone has all exercised it at one point of time. Further focusing on respect and sensibility, he stated that unless one has respect for the other gender, one cannot become sensitive towards them. In conclusion, he outlined that sensibility must come with sensitization and added, “Sensibility is to understand and to act on it. The participants of the workshop comprised of Sub-inspectors and Inspectors with Mezivolu T Therieh, Chief Judicial Magistrate and Civil Judge, Anurita P Hazarika, Program Manager NEN and Ashipri Zho, Advocate as the resource team. The workshop engaged the participants on understanding women’s rights and equality, on gender, patriarchy and violence against women, new laws and responsibilities of police, protection of children from sexual offences etc.