Gender: An Imperative For Freedom

What gender are you? Does your gender impact how you access healthcare, or justice, or education; where you are welcomed into, or excluded from?

Whether dictated by society or our biology, our ideas of gender constructs norms. These norms construct roles, which all of us then play out. What role becomes exclusionary for which gender is based on our society’s expectations of what it means to be a man or woman.

This gender binary exists to describe what is considered masculine and the feminine, which further diversifies itself into different gendered identities and sexualities. It is difficult to place all identities on the spectrum of gender and sexuality, yet it is important to engage with them.  There is, as yet, not one country in the world which has successfully closed any gap in gender inequality. In the context of South Asia, it is critical to examine discrimination, violence and exclusion based on gender and sexuality, if we are to meaningfully engage with any public policy.

In 2018, Difficult Dialogues will turn its lens on governments’ policy relating to how gender impacts fundamental aspects of our citizenship. It will bring together civil society, academic experts and those working at the community level through the lenses of health, education, labour, the media, with government and non-governmental organisations to discuss and debate the nuances and complexities of identifying within and outside the gender binary. It will ask whether, as a society, we can choose to be free from the restrictions of gender or not.