The Nitish Kumar government is planning a “Gender Literature Festival” in Patna, where writers from across the world will be invited to discuss women-centric issues. The three-day festival, beginning April 7, is being organised by the Gender Resource Centre under the Women Development Corporation of the Bihar Social Welfare Department. The event is in line with the state government’s bid to consolidate the women constituency. The government has taken several initiatives in this direction, such as 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayats and local bodies, 35 per cent reservation for women in government jobs, school uniforms, bicycles, scholarship schemes, targeting creation of 10 lakh self-help groups and imposing prohibition of liquor.
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Writers, mostly women, will be invited to the literature festival to discuss gender equity, discrimination and challenges and opportunities for women. A session will be devoted to transgender and LGBT issues as well. Asian Development Research Centre member secretary Shaibal Gupta, who is a member of the advisory committee for the festival, told The Indian Express: “We are trying to get top-grade women writers from across the world. We will also call male writers who have written extensively on women’s issues.”
Chandan Yadav, Gender Resource Centre consultant and coordinator for the Gender Literature Festival, said: “Women Development Corporation is organising the unique festival with the objective of developing gender justice system in society. The idea is to understand and appreciate gender issues through popular literature, art and culture.” Yadav said they expect experts to not just discuss problems concerning women but also provide solutions and advocacy. “The festival will discuss the relationship of men, women and transgenders with society and their conflicts,” he said.
Asked about prominent participants, Yadav said they were trying to get eminent writers including Nobel laureates. “We cannot give names at this stage as we are waiting for confirmation,” he said.