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On May 21 and 22, 2022, the Centre for Business and Society (CBS) organised its flagship event, the 3rd International Interdisciplinary Conference on Gender, Work and Society (ICGWS) with the theme: “Future of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in South Asia and Beyond”.
The hybrid conference, hosted at the Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB, LUMS), is the third in the ICGWS series. Previous conferences, held in 2017 and 2019, brought together academics, researchers and scholars from across the globe and this year’s conference aimed to carry on this legacy by immersing itself in the multidisciplinary themes around gender, work and society.
The conference was inaugurated on May 21, 2022, by Dr. Alnoor Bhimani (Honorary Dean, SDSB) and Dr. Arshad Ahmad (Vice Chancellor, LUMS). The inauguration address lauded the legacy of the gender conferences with their distinct themes that aimed to increase efforts to build a more inclusive community through research, practice, and awareness. This was followed by an inspiring and heartening keynote address by Justice Ayesha A. Malik, the first female judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Her address shed light on the struggles and achievements of women in the country and how a holistic and strategic approach is necessary to propel the country towards a more equitable and inclusive society.
The inauguration was followed by a series of parallel sessions which consisted of presentations from scholars on various gender themes. Building on the overarching theme of the conference that explored gender in both contexts of work and society, an event was held at the end of Day 1 to celebrate the launch of vending machines for sanitary products at LUMS and to have a pertinent conversation to commemorate International Menstrual Hygiene Day (an annual awareness day on May 28). The launch of the sanitary products vending machine was a revolutionary step towards creating a more inclusive space for women inside the university premises. Dr. Zubair Khalid (Assistant Professor, Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE)), Dr. Alnoor Bhimani (Honorary Dean, SDSB) and Dr. Arshad Ahmad (Vice Chancellor, LUMS) gave their remarks at the launch event. The discussion, titled “Workplace Diversity and Inclusion: A Panel Discussion on Menstruation and Menopause in Different Workplaces”, featured Farah Ahamed (Human rights lawyer and writer), Radha Paudel (CEO of “Global South Coalition for Dignified Menstruation”, writer and activist), Amna Mawaz Khan (classical dancer, theater artist and political activist) and Dr. Ayra Indrias Patras (Assistant Professor and activist) as panelists. The panel talk was organised to discuss the physical and psychological exertions of women that are troubled by lack of accessible hygienic products in the workplace and the effects of menopause on their personal and professional lives.
On Day 2 of the conference, Prof. Dr. Asghar Zaidi (Vice Chancellor, Government College University, Lahore) gave his keynote address on the gender, work, and societal implications of population ageing. His research on the increasingly ageing population and its associated repercussions on socio-economic dynamics was an eye opener for the audience and promoted awareness on the crucial need for further research and action-oriented advancements in this area.
In total, the conference consisted of 12 interactive sessions (in-person and online) that featured the work of 48 researchers rooted in interdisciplinary themes surrounding gender diversity. The themes ranged from Gender Identity and Expression to Religion and Ethnic Minorities, Money and Management, Education and Employment, and Harassment and Violence. These research papers were approved after a thorough review process that engaged faculty experts from across the board. The two-day conference concluded with three “Best Paper Awards” chosen after a careful nomination process led by the session chairs and the conference committee chairperson, Dr. Faiza Ali (Associate Professor, SDSB).
Throughout the two-day event, the 3rd ICGWS was driven by its objective of providing a platform to new research and disciplines that will go on to play a critical role in revolutionizing the course of gender in the scope of work and society. This conference successfully carved out a legacy for future conferences to continue to provide platforms for further advancements in the gender field.
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