Nagaland struggles with women representation, says Moa Sangtam
DIMAPUR — Moa Sangtam, Project Director (PD)-cum-District Mission Manager (DMM) of the District Mission Management Unit (DMMU), District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), said on Tuesday that there is an emerging trend of women taking over leadership globally; however, Nagaland continues to struggle with women representation.
He made this statement during a stakeholders’ workshop titled ‘National campaign against gender-based violence’ held at the Tourist Lodge in Dimapur, organised by the Nagaland State Rural Livelihood Mission (NSRLM), DRDA, Dimapur. The workshop was attended by various stakeholder departments and organisations, according to a DIPR report.
Moa stated that the awareness programme aimed to sensitise people about women’s rights and raise awareness about gender-based discrimination and violence. He emphasised the importance of changing people’s mindsets and highlighted the efforts undertaken by the NRLM to raise public awareness about gender discrimination.
He noted that the mission is conducting various campaigns, capacity training programmes, and orientations.
Ashe Kiba, representing the State Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities, said that gender equality is not just a distant dream but a resounding call for equal rights, opportunities and access to resources for every individual.
She went on to say that women with disabilities face a double layer of discrimination, particularly those with hearing, speech, visual, and intellectual disabilities, and are frequently targeted by those who exploit vulnerabilities. She stated that people with disabilities, particularly women, face discrimination based on their gender and disability.
Azungla James, Director of the Sisterhood Network in Dimapur, stated that the goals of SDG 5 are to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, and that in order to achieve this, there must be a collective effort to lift women.
James also addressed the systemic barriers hindering gender justice in society, attributing them to the patriarchal mindset, preference for sons over daughters, and the prioritisation of men over women.
She highlighted objections to having women in decision-making positions, as well as practices such as disowning or divorcing women if they do not give birth to sons. Also, James discussed the prevalence of domestic violence, including verbal abuse, frequent mental harassment, emotional threats and control, physical violence, and spiritual manipulations.
Thus, she said that the gender campaign should be a collaborative effort between men and women, with men advocating for their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, wives, colleagues, and girlfriends.
In his speech on ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace’, advocate Sangto Longchar, a representative from the District Legal Services Authority Network, Dimapur, said that sexual harassment of women at work violates a woman’s fundamental rights.
According to the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act of 2013, sexual harassment includes physical contact or advances, demands or requests for sexual favours, making sexually charged remarks, showing pornography, or any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal sexual conduct.
Longchar stated that any woman who feels aggrieved can file a complaint with the internal complaints committee or the local complaints committee established in the workplace.
K Ela, Director of Prodigals Home, emphasised the importance of working together to combat gender-based violence, maintaining that even though women in Nagaland face discrimination and violence, many of them are afraid to report it to the competent authority for fear of discrimination from society and family.
She encouraged the women to be courageous and speak up. Ela also highlighted that individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol are among the most vulnerable targets for abuse.
Ela stated that among the most marginalised women in society are those with disabilities. She observed that a significant amount of abuse towards people with disabilities originates from their primary caregivers. Therefore, she urged people to be vigilant and aware of such incidents.
Ela encouraged the gathering to report any incidents of domestic abuse against women by calling the toll-free number 181. She stressed the importance of sensitising people about women’s rights and gender-based discrimination and violence.