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AMU begins 16-day ‘International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women’ observation

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Aligarh : Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) faculty members called for global action to increase awareness about violence against women, by promoting advocacy and creating opportunities for discussion on challenges and solutions in the inaugural function of the 16-day ‘International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women’ observation of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) held today at the Conference Hall, Administrative Block.

“People are getting aware of gender based violence, but certainly more needs to be done”, said AMU Vice Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor.

Speaking as the Chief Guest of the inaugural function, the Vice Chancellor added: “Prevention plays a central role to eradicate and remove the root causes of gender-based violence. Youth work and activism can make an important contribution to such preventative work”.

He pointed out: Even as things are changing gradually, we need more work to change attitudes, and question gender roles and stereotypes that make gender-based violence acceptable in society. This can be done through organising campaigns, training, peer-to-peer education, or by including a gender equality dimension in all aspects of life.

“It is good to notice that the representation of women in public life is increasing across the globe. There are women heads of states in Scandinavian and Nordic countries. Women entrepreneurs in India from all age groups and backgrounds are constantly smashing stereotypes and changing the business scene and representation of women in politics, civil services and police is also increasing”, said Prof Mansoor.

The Guest of Honour, Prof Mohammad Gulrez (Pro Vice Chancellor) stressed: “The culture of gender-based violence and misogyny devalues women, normalises or minimizes abuse, ignores sexism, promotes aggressive or even toxic masculinity and uses men’s achievements to exonerate, excuse and deny the impact of their behavior.

He added that the father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi urged people to understand what lies in the heart of a woman and not to call woman the ‘weaker sex’ as it would be a libel and man’s injustice to women.

Delivering a talk on ‘International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women: Theme, History, Significance and Key Facts’, Prof Mohammad Sajjad (Department of History) said: “Last few weeks have thrown up much heart-rending stories of violence against women. A partner was cut into pieces, a six-year old baby girl was killed by her father, a young girl was killed by her parents and a local media writer was drove to suicide or perhaps thrown down to death from the 16th floor of a building in Noida. We keep hearing about such brutal stories and there is something wrong with the society and with our collective thought processes”.

He pointed out: “We are talking of these issues in a space called university where public money is spent on knowledge creation and dissemination. Such institutional spaces have biggest responsibilities in sensitizing the people on getting outraged with such attitudes and to do further needful towards creating a collective social attitude against violent regressivism”.

Prof Naima Khatoon (Principal, Women’s College) elaborated, ‘Violence against Women: Types and their Impact on Individual, Society and Nation’.

“Violence against women is one of the most frequent human rights violations. It is a threat to women’s lives, it puts their physical and psychological health at risk, and it is a threat to the well-being of their children, with consequences for the whole community. The perpetrators can be found in every social and economic milieu”, she said.

Speaking on ‘Violence against Women: Prevention and Protection’, Prof Zafar Ahmad Khan (Dr Ambedkar Chair for Legal studies and Research, Department of Law) emphasised: “Violence against women and girls is rooted in gender-based discrimination, social norms that accept violence, and gender stereotypes that continue cycles of violence. To date, efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls have mainly focused on responding to and providing services for survivors of violence. However, prevention—addressing the structural causes, as well as the risk and protective factors, associated with violence—is pivotal to eliminating violence against women and girls completely”.

In the welcome address, Prof Seema Hakim (Presiding Officer, ICC) said: “This year, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women— which kicks off the global 16 days of activism against gender-based violence; various ICC events at AMU will raise awareness to make people remember that gender-based violence continues to impact millions of women, girls, and marginalised people around the world so that people from all walks of life do not just stand by as women face pain and suffering”.

A short animated film, ‘Violence against Women throughout the Life Cycle’, chronicling the inner turmoil of women and bringing out the various layers in which they are confined to deal with mental and physical violence was also screened on the occasion.

The speakers later answered queries of students in a special ‘open house’ interactive session.

Prof Sangeeta Singhal (Member, ICC) extended the vote of thanks.

Sara Sultan Khan conducted the programme.