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Gender equality = economic growth

Officers from State Institutes of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj came together in Mussoorie to attend a training course on gender last week. The course was aimed at creating realization of greater and equal participation of women in the development of the country. The participants from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha were handed certificates by the Norwegian Ambassador at a small ceremony at the end of the program.

The course is a training of trainers on Gender Responsive Governance. It is organised at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie by the National Gender Center (NGC) and UN Women with the support of the Norwegian Embassy.

Ambassador Kamsvåg addressed the participants, highlighting the importance of women as equal citizens in any country. Looking to Norway, the Ambassador noted that female participation in the workforce has generated more income to the Norwegian government than its revenue from oil and minerals (the Sovereign Wealth Fund).

The Ambassador further added that failure to acknowledge the part played by women, and their potential as economic actors can be a barrier to social and economic development.  Governments and institutions on all levels must show the way into a more inclusive and prosperous future. Programs, like the one in Mussoorie, will help the participants being vital agents of change in their institutions.

The National Gender Center was established in 1995 with the aim to mainstream gender in policy, programme formulation and implementation in the Government. The week-long training was attended by participants from the National Institute for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and State Institutes for Rural Development.

The course enhances the capacities of trainers from departments like Home, Health and Women and Child in important crosscutting themes of violence, health, panchayati raj and disaster management. They become master trainers and resource persons who in turn bring their knowledge back to their respective states. This helps build capacities of panchayat functionaries and elected representatives to be responsive and accountable to gender equality concerns.

The training course is part of a cooperation between the Norwegian Embassy and UN Women: “From opportunities to Capacities: A Multi-Sectoral Approach to Enhancing Gender Responsive Governance”. The project seeks to strengthen national and sub national governments for gender responsive design and implementation of key schemes and policies to ensure better outcomes for women.

The current session, which was the third since the program started, had 55 participants. Ambassador Kamsvåg congratulated the officers on their successful completion and for being a part of an important initiative.