To mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November, the British Deputy High Commission in Bengaluru kicked off #16DaysOfActivisim with gender equality & women empowerment programmes on 25 November in Bengaluru. Monday is also the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence -- an annual international campaign from 25 November to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
The British Deputy High Commission Bengaluru has been observing the 16 Days of Activism during the past few years with projects and engagements focusing on women's empowerment, diversity at the workplace and promoting LGBTQ rights. On Monday, the British Deputy High Commission Bengaluru held three engagements -- gender equality in the garment sector, a legal awareness workshop for the LGBTQ community, and Chevening Conversations panel discussion on Women in Business & Leadership Roles.
The morning engagement – called 'POWER' (Providing Opportunities to Women for Equal Rights) -- focused on raising awareness among garment factory workers on gender equality and prevention of sexual harassment. The project has benefitted 33,500 workers during the three phases it has been running in Bengaluru and across India. British Deputy High Commissioner in Bengaluru Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford said: "Through such projects we aim to ensure workers in garment factories, irrespective of their gender or caste, are treated with respect and dignity and not subjected to implicit or explicit forms of forced labour, gender violence, harassment or discrimination."
Two-day legal awareness workshop for LGBTQ community
Interacting with UK high-street brands, local garment factory staff and women workers, he later added: "We want UK companies to succeed. But that success must be consistent with our deeply held values of human rights and individual dignity. Responsible action by the private sector on human rights is good for business and communities. It helps create jobs because fairness attracts customers and contributes towards market sustainability."
The second engagement on Monday was the commencement of a two-day legal awareness workshop for the LGBTQ community conducted in partnership with Payana, an NGO that works with sexuality minorities and marginalised communities. The focus of the workshop is to help the LGBTQ community understand the legal system, especially laws that affect sexuality minorities in terms of protection of their well-being, dignity, human rights and decent work conditions. Most of the participants were from working-class non-English speaking backgrounds coming from the various districts of Karnataka.
The third engagement was organised as part of the British High Commission's "Chevening Conversations". First of its series, the engagement focused on 'Women in Business & Leadership Roles'. The panel consisted of women alumni members of the Chevening alumni network in Bengaluru. They spoke about their respective journeys in diverse career fields including corporate world, arts, fund-raising, and civic activism.
Globally, almost 1,800 Chevening scholarships were awarded in 2019-20. Today, there are over 50,000 Chevening alumni around the world, comprising an influential and highly regarded global network.