Varanasi Conference on Gender, Activism and Politics
While both India and Sweden acknowledge the need for enhancing women participation and empowerment; their immediate concerns and priorities have been diverse. In Sweden there is growing concern about the declining participation of women in electoral politics and how it relates to the growing sway of neo-liberalism. Also there are anxieties about the proportionately low participation of women from the community of immigrants, diasporas and the minorities.
On the other hand, India pins great importance to empowerment of women in the context of feminization of poverty, illiteracy, hunger and gender based violence. In parallel we observe a re-masculinisation of politics in both countries with a steadily growing populism that are following an authoritarian sentiment sweeping over the world.
Notwithstanding their diverse priorities, the two countries have a range of convergent concerns, including women’s and men’s diverse roles in peace, environmental protection, justice and fairness. Both countries reckon that the gender equality is a continual process, necessitating constant introspection and retrospection and learning from each other’s experience.