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International Women's Day Conference: Forging Gender Equality

Program Updates / March 09, 2022

International Women's Day Celebrations: Mar 5-8, 2022

International Women’s Day Celebrations by JKYog from Mar 5-8, 2022 commemorating 111th International Women’s Day featured world renowned women achievers. Purple Heart Recipient, Iraq War Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Senator Tammy Duckworth delivered an opening message. The International Conference on Forging Gender Equality in the 21st Century featured rousing and insightful talks by renowned scientists, social workers, entrepreneurs from India, South Africa, USA, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. They shared their life stories, perspectives, and practical solutions to the unfortunate yet prevalent scenario of gender bias. #BreakTheBias is the theme for International Women’s Day 2022.

Swami Mukundananda felicitated several women achievers during the 2nd JKYog International Women’s Day Awards Ceremony. In his IWD address, he underscored the need for a more gender equal world where the rights of women are respected and upheld. He also highlighted the elevated status of women in Vedic culture with scriptural quotations and examples of women scholars or Brahmavadinis, such as Rishika Gargi who famously challenged Sage Yajnavalkya to a debate and was honored as one of the nine gems of King Janak’s court.

Swamiji explained the spiritual perspective that all souls are ultimately feminine, and Shree Krishna is the only male. He shared an interesting pastime in this regard from the life of Saint Mirabai when she paid a visit to Jeev Goswami in Vrindavan, who refused to meet with Mirabai on the grounds that she was a woman.

Watch his full address HERE to KNOW MORE about the inherent gender equality in Vedic culture:


IWD 2022 Award Winners

Lifetime Achievement Award - Padmashri Dr. Rohini Godbole

Women in STEM - Dr Anitha Kumari, Associate Professor of IT, PSG Coimbatore

Women with a Cause (Social Leadership) - Dr Padmini Murthy, New York Medical College

Women with a Green Vision (Environmental Leadership) - Dr. Nidhi Shukla, Amity University


JKYog IWD Conference 2022 – Present Gender Bias Issues

No matter how open minded we think we are, due to cultural, socioeconomic, geographical, and other factors, we all have certain unconscious biases. Gender bias, an especially pernicious one, is the unconscious or implicit preference of one gender over the other and affects women’s healthcare, career opportunities, pay and their basic human rights.

  1. According to the UN Gender Social Norms Index Report,
    • 90% of the men and women worldwide are biased against women!
    • 50% of men and women worldwide think men make better political leaders .
    • 40% of men and women worldwide think men make better business leaders.
    • 40% of men and women worldwide think men are more entitled to jobs when the economy is not doing well.
    • 30% of men worldwide think it is acceptable for a man to beat his partner
    • 25% of men and women worldwide think university education is more important for a man than for a woman


  1. Further in 2020, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women’s annual earnings were 82.3% of men’s and the gap is even wider for many women of color
  2. The Geena Davis Institute found that
    • parents of both sexes are 6 times more likely to think of scientists and athletes being men.
    • Parents encourage boys to pursue sports and science while girls are encouraged to pursue, dance, dressing up and baking.


Sharing his own observations about gender inequalities in scientific fields, Swami Mukundananda shared,”When I was studying in engineering college, we had a batch of 200 students in which there were just 5 women – such tremendous inequality!”

JKYog IWD Conference 2022 – Women Leaders Share Solutions to Gender Bias

At the JKYog IWD conference renowned scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, and researchers shared their perspectives on the causes of gender bias, how they were personally impacted in their respective fields and how they used those experiences to grow and help other women to prosper. They also shared some solutions for these issues.

Dr Rohini Godbole – “Diversity is a crucial aspect of objective bias free science”

Internationally renowned physicist, Padmashri Dr Rohini Godbole shared, “We need to correct historical injustices and exclusion of groups from processes of science. Inclusion and diversity add efficacy to scientific process by adding more dimensions to scientific ecosystem and leads to further excellence. Science relies heavily on consensus about acceptable results and future result directions. This makes diversity crucial aspect of objective bias free science. Diverse groups bring their background, their ways of thinking, methods and potential of their unique perspectives.”

She gave the example of Joy Boulamwini, a scientist who discovered that traditional facial recognition algorithms of many software companies repeatedly failed at recognizing women of color. This showed algorithmic racial and gender bias that got noticed only because Buolamwini, a woman of color herself, set out to explore the issue. Dr Godbole also provided many examples from history to show how the exclusion of women harmed the scientific community by eliminating possibilities for new inventions and discoveries due to lack of gender diverse perspectives.

Dr Godbole’s talk was a riveting storehouse of insights that logically stepped through the reasons why diversity and inclusion is important in science and technology. She also spoke about her own experiences as scientist and her efforts to encourage other women in scientific fields.


Dr Padmini Murthy – “Women’s’ health is society’s wealth”


United States Presidential Award Winner Dr. Padmini Murthy highlighted the importance of gender specific medicine: “Just because a woman does not look sick does not mean she is healthy. Women face abuse and discrimination. In my work I have found that women don’t have access to healthcare and access to information because they must bear some things. COVID has put a mental health burden, women are bearing the brunt of it – they are the ones who must shoulder the double burden of making sure things are ok for the family while doing their best at work.”

Talking about the healthcare needs of women, Dr Murthy highlighted many factors that affect women’s health:” Malnutrition is major factor for pregnant women. Repetitive pregnancies cause problems for women. Gender specific medicine is needed because aspects of menarchy and menopause need to be considered. Early marriage has increased maternal morbidity and mortality.”


Other accomplished women speakers included Founder and CEO of Woman of Stature Charlotte Du Plessis, Managing Director of AMIS group Raksha Naidoo, Serial Entrepreneur Neha Husein, Youth Motivational Speaker Shivalay Maharaj and Social Intelligence Specialist Dr. Stacy Hope.

The riveting QnA sessions with each of the speakers, moderated by the volunteers at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas, were highly informative and educational.

Prasanna Seshadri, an attendee said, “The point that struck me the most about Dr Murthy’s speech was that: women are an integral part of society. When women are healthy, society is healthy. Specifically, she shared an experience where she watched a movie questioning the need for women to play sports. I found that question hard to fathom. Last year at the Tokyo Olympics, the first medal was won by a woman in the weightlifting competition – Mirabai Chanu! Women are winning in the international arena and here we have a statement like this which is unacceptable. “

He added, “But the most important question is what we can do to help. I was inspired by Dr Murthy’s call to action: give up one day of coffee per month and contribute to the welfare of women, to improve their lives and bring gender inequality to an end. If we all do our small part, that will make a big difference. “

Shruti Mehta praised JKYog for organizing an event to highlight gender equity, providing an opportunity to hear from accomplished women on how they were able to #BreakTheBias and achieve success in their fields.

“I loved how Dr Godbole mentioned that each government department should have its own equity and inclusion office to bring equity and inclusion into the system. She very correctly said that inclusions begin at home. We unintentionally become biased since we have been fed those inputs since childhood. For example, when we are asked to picture a nurse, we always think of a woman, and when we are asked to picture a doctor, we always think of a man. So, these corrections are to be made within ourselves first. Dr Godbole’s talk has totally changed my perspective and I am thankful to JKYog for organizing and featuring the topic of gender equity.”


Watch the JKYog IWD speaker videos and let us know your takeaways in comments!