The MLCU organized a Seminar on Gender, Sexuality and Society today

Shillong November 22: To have an open discussion and to move towards a more egalitarian balance in society within a historical and social context, Martin Luther Christian University organized a two day seminar on, “Gender, Sexuality and Society in Tribal Northeast India and Their Implications for Tribal Youth”, on November 21-22, 2017.

Speaking at the plenary session, the co-convener of the seminar, Patricia Mukhim said, “Gender is society’s way of listing out the role of male and female based on their sex, and we also know that patriarchy has defined that role since women’s voices are hardly captured in literature of any kind except after the rise of feminism in western countries in the 1960s.”

She went on to add, “This seminar provides a comfortable platform to voice our opinions and maybe resolve conflicts concerning gender issues, but the moment the seminar is over there will be resistance to those ideas, there will be contestations and challenges and we should all be strong enough to withstand those if we want permanent change.”

Dr RL Hnuni, the first ordained woman pastor of the Baptist Church of Mizoram spoke about the importance of women in the family, society and church, and yet how women are marginalized and discriminated in the ministry of the church.

Dr Andrew J May, professor of history at the University of Melbourne spoke on gender and colonialism in the Khasi Hills in which he described the strong patriarchal views of the Welsh missionaries, and how theywere able to exercise a strong influence on indigenous culture and its gender relations.

Dr. Melvil Pereira, Director of the North Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati spoke about the existing tension between tribal customary laws and women’s rights in NE India, and that codification of the customary laws must include more equal roles for women.

A session on women’s health included a presentation on women’s decision-making roles by Dr Sandra Albert, Director, Indian Institute of Public Health, Shillong. The session included talks on women’s mental health by Melissa Kyndiah and on women traditional healers by Mayfereen Ryntathiang.

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