IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Professor to lead panel event on gender, fatherhood and families at international conference

9 February 2018

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) professor Margaret O'Brien is moderating a panel discussion on gender, fatherhood and families at the international Difficult Dialogues conference which begins today.

Father and son at beach

The conference, held in Goa, India, aims to tackle the most important issues facing South Asia.

This year the forum is being held in partnership with UCL, Goa University (GU) and the International Centre Goa (ICG).

Professor O'Brien is one of several renowned professors attending, which also includes Professor Sarah Hawkes who leads the UCL Centre for Global Health and Gender, Professor David Osrin of UCL and Professor of Global Health and Philosophy Sridhar Venkatapuram of King's College, London. UK politician and teacher Baroness Shreela Flathers and actress Gabriella Wright will also be present.

The speakers will grapple with the issue of how Indian gender constructs affect fundamental aspects of daily lives and citizenship.

Professor O'Brien's panel discussion will examine what the barriers and facilitators to men's involvement in care work (caring for children and other family members) in India are, how this differs for different men, and what structural or policy changes can best facilitate a less gendered division of care and domestic work for the benefit of men, women and children.

Speakers on the panel include Abhijit Das (Director of the Centre for Health and Social Justice), Rajalakshmi Sriram (Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda), Stalin K (documentary filmmaker and human rights activist) and Anand Pawar (Executive Director of SAMYAK).

Surina Narula, philanthropist and founder of Difficult Dialogues said: "'Difficult Dialogues' is an endeavor to provide a common platform to bridge this gap between policy makers and civil society involved with implementation. Unless the last mile implementers are included in the conversation, policies will only reflect what mega rich businesses want and democracy will be diluted."

Her perspective on this year's gender focused dialogues is to include men in the conversation. "Gender equality can be best achieved with all genders working towards the same outcome. The only way that we can form a just society is if the journey is an inclusive constructive process, in which everyone feels empowered to participate. It should not be a feminist argument in isolation."

Media contact

Rowan Walker, UCL Media Relations
+44 (0)20 3108 8516