Kashmir University’s Centre for Women’s Studies and Research (CWSR) on Tuesday organised a national-level seminar to celebrate the International Women’s Day.Vice-Chancellor Prof Talat Ahmad inaugurated the seminar titled ‘Break the Bias: Striving For Equity’.In his presidential address, Prof Talat complimented the CWSR for organising the seminar on an important theme, as well as for organising various outreach programmes in far-flung areas of Kashmir.He said a message should go out that society cannot progress unless it ensures equal participation of women in different fields of life.“We have been fairly successful in ensuring participation of women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths). We need to encourage girl students to go to schools so that they eventually reach colleges and universities,” he said.Highlighting various initiatives that the university has been taking to promote gender equity, the VC said the varsity is participating in a prestigious pilot programme, ‘Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) sponsored by DST, GoI in partnership with British Council, towards advancement and promotion of Women in STEM.Prof Pamila Singla from Delhi University delivered the keynote address and called for doing away with gender biases and stereotypes which, she said, are “ingrained in our minds.”She said universities need to encourage more gender-sensitive research while conducting safety audits in and around the campuses and also hold regular gender sensitisation programmes to make these institutions “more inclusive and secure for women.”Prof Mehraj-ud-Din Mir, former VC Central University of Kashmir who was a guest of honour said CWSR has been doing a commendable job in raising gender awareness and sensitisation.Prof Nilofar Khan, former Director CWSR KU, who was also a guest of honour, said the Centre is going in the right direction and fulfilling its mandate with full focus and determination.KU Registrar Dr Nisar A Mir, who was a special guest, assured the university administration’s complete support to all endeavors of CWSR, which, he said, is representing the university at grassroots level by holding various important outreach programmes in far-off areas of the Valley.Director CWSR Prof Tabassum Firdous delivered the welcome address and also highlighted achievements of the CWSR in areas of academics, research and extension education.“The Centre produces academic discourse on specific gender issues while making interventions in areas of skill development and micro-financing of women in rural belts,” she said, thanking the VC and Registrar for supporting the CWSR.The VC later released ‘News Digest’, a newsletter-cum-journal of CWSR and a book titled ‘Education in Contemporary India’ authored by Dr Rabia.Dr Roshan Ara delivered a vote of thanks while Nabeela Nisar conducted proceedings of the inaugural session.

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