Bold and Becoming

Webinar-12: In and out of SDG#5 with Rijve Arefin

The 12th we webiner of Bold and Becoming was held on the topic In and out of SDG#5. We had the pleasure to have Rijve Arefin, Co-Founder of Awareness360 and Forbes 30 under 30 as our guest.. This webiner was largely focused on SDG#5 and specifically about Gender equality.

The first agenda was about the difference between gender equality and women empowerment. Rijve Arefin’s comment on this discussion was very impactful as he explained the difference between equity and equality. Equal education, opportunity and healthcare are predominantly concerned with gender equality. The authority or community needs to provide equal rights to each gender of a society. In this case, equality with equity is important. There might be places or occurrences where both quantitatively and qualitatively more opportunities need to be provided to women for their generational deprivation. Still there are thousands of women around the world who are generationally lagging behind men. Our facilitator added that because of blacklashes, lack of resources and access, women have been deprived of many opportunities and to compensate for this loss, we need to give them more opportunities to bring balance in each gender.

The second question was “why is it important to take gender concern into account in daily life decision making and function?” – Our guest shared that gender equality is not a women issue. It’s a human right issue. It exists in every sphere of life. Gender equality is intricately connected to other sustainable development goals. Without equality it is very much difficult to achieve other SDGs such as sanitation and quality education. Rijve underscored that it is easier to educate a child if the mother is educated. He strongly stressed that feminism, gender equality and related topics should be taught in schools and through textbooks so that our next generations are well shaped in their perspectives and values and are equipped to close the ever-growing gender gap.

“Studies show women’s tendency to diminish and undervalue her professional skills and achievements starting from adolescence as such women are less self-assured than men. According to you, what can be done or how can we reframe our subconscious attitudes about our women and others and our own abilities based on their gender?”, was our third question to the guest.

Rijve delineated some effective solutions in his answer. Educating families through small interactive workshops on gender-equality can play an imperative role in restructuring our deeply ingrained gender biases and attitudes. Educating families will create correct and competent agents in the society to multiply the positive effects in the mass. This in effect, will curate gradual but lasting community based mind-shifts towards gender-based stereotypes and biases. Our facilitator, Chitralekha Kar, emphasised weekly sessions/discussions with family and gathering proper and appropriate resources. As media reigns our lives in different levels,gender-related age appropriate educational contents should be created in collaboration of people in positions of power and media to assist in structural changes.

The discussion further crawled to leadership positions of women in stem, business, politics etc and elements of self-love, respect, dignity, confidence and courage. Learning leadership skills and cultivating self – love – respect – courage – dignity and confidence may not substantiate alone, however, these elements play crucial roles in development of a female; of a society; it acts as an adhesive to put the fundamental pieces of a human-life together. Our guest shared how he struggles with imposter syndrome and proactively and consistently engages in good habits to boost his confidence. He shared how he writes poems to promote self-love and care in himself.

Lastly, when he was asked to share one thing he unlearned as an adult and the process of unlearning, Rijve mentioned about unlearning many social and gender based taboos; He shared that experiencing lives from different parts of the world and embracing diversity have helped his unlearning process to great extents.

The discussion ended with the hope that one day SDG#5 will be achieved and we no longer need to fight for gender-equality!

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