• Thursday, June 30, 2022

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UK Parliament hosts gender equality crusaders

The Women’s Day event saw 20 speakers share their stories of challenges and achievements with a 150-strong audience of parliamentarians, and representatives from charities, schools and the corporate sector.

By: Eastern Eye Staff

For a third year in a row, the UK parliament hosted an eminent group of female equality crusaders, celebrating their remarkable achievements on International Women’s Day.

Hosted by Lord Dolar Popat and Lady Sandhya Popat on Friday (6), the event saw 20 inspirational speakers share their stories of challenges and accomplishments with a 150-strong audience of parliamentarians, and representatives from charities, schools and the corporate sector.

The discussions were chaired by Baroness Usha Prashar CBE, a long-time champion of women’s rights, and prominent speakers included Baroness D’Souza, former Lord Speaker and advocate of gender equality, and Sonal Sachdev Patel, CEO of GMSP Foundation.

Human rights activist Gina Miller, Diipa Buller-Khosla, a social influencer with over a million Instagram followers, author Mira Manek and ITV presenter Nina Nanner, too, participated in the ‘Equal for Equal’ event.

“It is our responsibility to stand up for someone hurting next to us, because we have a responsibility to give back to the society that affords our success,” said Miller.

Meenal Sachdev, founder and director of Shiva Foundation, which aimed to curb human trafficking and modern slavery in the UK, said the plight of trafficked, abused and sexually exploited women was “appalling”.

“Their voices often go unheard,” she said. “Decision-makers are, of course, sympathetic to the cause of lifting women out of these unimaginable situations and are seeking to legislate to protect the vulnerable and punish the perpetrators.

“But can we truly claim to be fighting for equality without listening to the very women who are suffering these degradations?”

Nour Shaker, a senior manager at KPMG and transgender activist, elaborated on attacks on transgender communities across the world. “On Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20), stats showed that 370 trans individuals were killed around the world in 2019.”

This year, he added, “135 trans individuals have already been killed… murdered, stabbed, run over, shot, or tortured”.

Rupal Sachdev Kantaria, director at Oliver Wyman, said there was an urgent need to “take responsibility for our inaction as much as our action” and “spread our power through our families, friends, workplaces and communities”.

Rupa Ganatra Popat, entrepreneur and co-founder of FUTR group, too, stressed on utilising the “power” that “sits with each one of us to make a difference”.

“We ask each of you to make a leap and be a part of this journey towards equality and inclusion,” she said. “We urge each one of you to commit… to be the change we all want to see in our future.”

As the event concluded, Lord Popat said it was a “privilege to host such a talented, diverse and inspirational group of speakers at the mother of all parliaments”.

“The UK made huge progress for gender equality in 2020, but we still have a long way to go and events like this are key to moving this conversation forward,” he added.

Eastern Eye

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