General

10th annual conference of SWAN begins

NEW DELHI, The women leaders of nine South Asian countries have gathered here to join the 10th Annual Conference of the South Asia Women's Network (SWAN) to discuss the issues impediment towards their empowerment.

As many as 87 women leaders comprising parliamentarians, media representatives, NGO leaders, creative individuals and grassroots workers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are attending the conference began here this evening.

The theme of this year's SWAN conference is-Gender Empowerment for Sustainable Development: Issues and Challenges Facing the Women of South Asia.

Women in South Asia have been facing serious challenges that include poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, domestic violence and smugglingwe will discuss these issues in our three-day conference and try to find out a solution to this end, said Veena Sikri, Founding Trustee and Convener of SWAN.

Speaking at a press conference at Foreign Correspondents' Club of South Asia (FCC) here yesterday, she said SWAN's key focus is overcoming the serious challenges facing the women of South Asia, irrespective of their religious beliefs and ethnicities.

The former diplomat said that the participants will take part in three separate thematic sessions where experts will deliver their key-note speeches on-South Asia's Malnutrition Challenge: A Women-led Strategy for First Tracking Improvement, Women Unpaid Work and their Empowerment and Women for Change: Building a Gender Media in South Asia.

Panelists will also join discussion station their respective country's position regarding these issues and make recommendations how these challenges can be overcome, she added.

We will also review our previous activities, she said.

Bhutanese Health Minister Dr Dechen Wangmo, Minister for Gender, Family and Social Services of Maldives Shidatha Shareef, Director, India Foundation and Former Chairperson of National Commission for Women Lalitha Kumaramangalam, Head Policy and Advocacy Tata Trusts Ms Shireen Vakil, Founding Trustee and Convener Veena Sikri and President of India Islamic Cultural Centre Sirajuddin Qureshi addressed the inaugural session.

A 13-member Bangladesh delegation comprising parliamentarians Sagufta Yasmin and Selima Ahmad have been participating in the conference.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)