n South Asia, nearly all countries have a constitutional mandate providing equality to men and women in all walks of life. However the ground realities are very different. The patriarchal mind sets continue to exclude women from most decision making positions and the gender disparities further manifest in socio-economic status seen clearly through various discriminatory indicators. Often women’s concerns and issues do not receive the attention they deserve due to their lack of access to positions of powers. In certain areas such as education and employment there has been headway, though ingrained societal and gender norms continue to hamper development. According to World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2008 out of 130 countries for which data is available Pakistan ( rank 127), Nepal (120) and India (113) come in the bottom 20 countries ranking. Bangladesh at rank 90 fares much better relatively, and Sri Lanka at 12 ranks the highest in the region. The Index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health~based criteria, and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across regions and income groups, and over time.
Locating Women Leaders in South Asia : Gender Summit 2011 was held from 3rd of November to 5th of November 2011in Dhulikhel, Nepal. Representatives from India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka took part in the summit. It was organized by Friedrick~Ebert~Stiftung India and Nepal office.
Human development, if not engendered, is endangered
Three day intense summit was divided into keynote and plenary session. It covered topics including women in informal sector (Lived experiences across South Asia, Negotiation, struggle and Survival and Country specific best practices), women in peace and security (Women and Conflict, Negotiating conflict and security issues and Women waging peace), and women in decision making (Politics and Women, From followers to leaders and Women as leaders: way forward).
The gender summit was held to serve as a platform for discussion and debate on varied issues which enabled us to improve our capacities, share experiences from the region and build stronger networks.