Historic Gender Assembly of the YMCAs of India

Date: 13 May 2011

The Department of Women’s Empowerment & Gender Concerns of the National Council of YMCAs of India convened a three-day Gender Assembly at the national level hosted by YMCA New Delhi at their Greater Noida Programme Centre on the theme, “Gender Parity : Pathway to a Common Humanity” during April 29-May 1, 2011.

The National Council of YMCAs of India organized a National Women’s/Gender Assembly at YMCA Greater Noida Programme Centre during April 29-May 1, 2011 with YMCA New Delhi as hosts.  This was the eighth in a series of annual conclave of women staff persons/lay-leaders/members and the very first gender assembly of its kind in the history of the Indian YMCA Movement.  Some 79 delegates comprising men and women including 53 from outstation covering eight of the nine YMCA Regions of India attended the three-day Assembly on the theme, Gender Parity : Pathway to a Common Humanity, which saw the Chairperson of the Delhi Social Welfare Board, noted social activist and renowned woman sportsperson, Dr. Mrs. Sudharshan Pathak, inaugurating the seminal meet as Chief-Guest in the company of dignitaries which included the President of the National Council of YMCAs, Mr. K. John Cherian, gracing the occasion as Guest-of-honour, Mr. Vijay Sewak, President, YMCA New Delhi, Dr. Patcharawan Srisilapanan, Chairperson, Gender Equity Committee of the Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCAs and Dr. Ann Thomas, Chairperson, Women’s Empowerment & Gender Concerns Committee, National Council, among others notables. 

The very first Assembly of this nature was convened in Madurai in December 2003 and the one immediate to this was in Aizawl in May 2010.  Four sub-sessions were gone through which included “Encouraging Equal Access to Opportunities”; “Promoting Gender-Mainstreaming and Gender-integration within the YMCA”; “Towards Gender-Sensitization within the YMCA” and “Promoting Capacity-building and Women’s Enablement in the YMCAs”,  addressed by subject-matter specialist drawn from civil society and NGO sector besides, a star-studded Panel Discussion on the theme, ‘Women Creating a Safe World’, featuring Ms. Madhubala Nath of UN Women, Dr. Ms. Jyotsna Chatterji, Joint Women’s Forum and Dr. Binita Behera, CANA with Ms. Razia Ismail Abbasi of Women’s Coalition Trust and India Alliance for Child Rights as moderator. 

The inaugural on Friday, April 29, 2011, was immediately followed by a keynote address delivered by Ms. Semeda Steves of Christian Aid.  The conclave concluded on a high note with an impressive valedictory where Dr. Patcharawan Srisilapanan as Chief-Guest delivering an impressive address besides, Mr. Alok Michyari of YMCA New Delhi Board, gracing the occasion as Guest-of-honour in the presence of dignitaries which included among others the National General Secretary, National Council of YMCAs of India, Mr. John Varughese and General Secretary, YMCA New Delhi, Mr. Bertram Devadas.  The Plenary preceding  the Valedictory saw the delegates adopt  a  five-point resolution which among other things stressed on the need for organizing gender-sensitization workshops for YMCA members and the community and affirmation of support for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill through mass mobilization programmes and representations by local YMCAs and the National Council among other well-intentioned goals.  The programme was coordinated by Mr. Anjan Mukherjee, Secretary, National Programmes and Women’s Empowerment & Gender Concerns.  Special mention was made of felicitous greetings received from the WAY Secretary-General, The Revd. Johan Vilhelm Eltvik, Anne F. Stenhammer, Regional Programme Director, UN Women and Ms. Leila Passah, National General Secretary, YWCA India.

Reported by :
Mr. Anjan Mukherjee
Secretary, National Programmes & Gender Concerns
YMCAs of India