The International Gender Conference 2019 on ‘Revisiting, Reviewing, and Restructuring
Spaces for Urban Women: A Dialogue Between Sectors for Empowering Urban Women
Across the Globe’ hosted by the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts (SSLA) on the 1 st and 2 nd
of March 2019, will be a dynamic gathering of academia, the corporate sector, community-
based organizations, researchers, and the development sector to discuss issues faced by
Women in Urban Spaces.
At this conference, we will exchange ideas, concepts, and stories of transformation and
success through several discussions, panels, workshops, exhibitions, and papers with a view
to creating a network for all concerned with issues faced by women in urban spaces.
As a liberal arts college studying transdisciplinary courses holistically, we are committed to
studying, reviewing and working towards solutions that will improve our quality of life. Our
engagement with our community will also be enriched with these discussions and
deliberations. We seek to work with the corporate sector too as they play a huge role in the
conscious and not so conscious creation of spaces and ideas that impact the lives of women
The Conference Plan
The conference will begin with the SSLA-Sage Public Lecture, (co-hosted by Sage
Publications) on the 28 th February 2019. The two day conference on March 1-2 will work
towards revisiting and reviewing the socio-cultural challenges faced by urban women. This
will help in realizing our responsibility and act towards restructuring these spaces.
WOMEN AND HEALTHCARE - For most urban women every day is a battle; from waking
up to a table waiting for breakfast to long exhausting hours at the office. In the midst of all
this, her health takes a backseat. In addition to this, women’s . Hence, it’s extremely
important to engage the society in a conversation on the same, in order to at least take a step
towards improving the healthcare system and its societal connotation.
WOMEN AND CITIZENSHIP - In a patriarchal society, history has always dictated woman’s
citizenship to be secondary, whereas a man’s is primary. Women lack representation in
certain areas such as the defence sector, bar councils, parliament etc. This has resulted in
voices of women still being unheard when it comes to important issues like public safety, law
enforcement, legislation and governance, rights of the citizens, and protecting the citizens
from threats. As a backlash several reactions have come up, one of the most globally
significant is #metoo.
WOMEN AND WORKPLACE - The number of women joining the workspace has increased
dramatically over the past few years. There are many sectors/industries where the gender gap
between men and women hasn't narrowed down. This gender gap exists because of the
predominant mindset that women aren't “designed” for all jobs. Women often become
victims of workplace harassment by people in power and authority. This section of the
conference aims to find solutions to decrease this gap and to generate a new thought process
that brings about a gender inclusive and safe workspace.
WOMEN OF EMINENCE - In recent years, women have carved a space for themselves in
several sectors. Women are now reporting in widely-read newspapers and magazines,
performing on stage, representing the country in sports, leading organisations, running
NGOs, and much more. These women hold the power to bring about change, to make the
voices of women heard and to share their own experiences under the spotlight . In addition to
this they understand the struggles of urban middle class women, as they come from such
spaces themselves. They can be extremely influential figures to other urban middle class
women, thus encouraging them to discover their personal sense of agency.
One of the significant feminist perspectives is the need to talk for women and about women.
Although a patriarchal society has dictated everything that a woman should do- including the
terms of her capability for too long a time, the direction has been gradually shifting. Women
are slowly gaining momentum and are taking up positions as equals to men in the society. We
as a society have not had peaceful conversations in the past to resolve this pertinent issue and
women have a long way to go for constructive conversations about themselves. It is for all
this we stand today.
Gender Conversations at SSLA
At SSLA the discussion on various societal issues is not restricted to the classroom. The
student- faculty day to day conversations also examine public issues. Issues concerning
gender are one among them. Women and Gender Studies is not just a subject for the faculty
and students, it is a discourse of the strain forced by the patriarchal society on a woman’s
identity. This conference is a concrete step to revisiting and reviewing the multitude of
restrictions imposed on women. Our aim is not to just write an evaluative analysis of the
issue, but to find restructured solutions that extend outside the textual framework.
A picture of the real world will emerge from diversity in speakers from all cultures and
various streams of life. This will provide our audience with different perspectives and allow
for actionable changes. We believe academic institutions like ours must work with all
stakeholders to bring about sustainable positive change.
We will engage in discourse and discussion that make an effort at understanding the social,
economic and cultural changes that urban woman face on a daily basis. These will go a long
way in finding solutions for the problems that arise with an urban lifestyle. It is a step
towards understanding the growth of a woman who is educated and upwardly mobile while
initiating more women into this category.
It is our concern to understand, address and solve the problems that arise with this
phenomenal change in gender roles. The conference offers educated conversations with
communities that influence and are being influenced by this change. An exchange of
experiences, success stories and struggles will prove to be an inspiration for those still writing
their stories out there.
The conference is about spreading awareness, and stimulating scientific enquiry. We
endeavour to have empowering dialogues, focused on a solution based approach both
academically, philosophically with a view to help better the lives of all, not just women. We
seek to have a long lasting impact towards social change.