“She leads for peace” is the new campaign of the United Nations Institute for Training & Research. Globally, the need for the active participation of women in achieving sustainable development, disarmament, peace, and security has been long recognized. To increase women’s participation in social, economic, and political spheres, gender mainstreaming has been adopted by international organizations and national governments. The idea is to confer on women the decision-making power and encourage them to take roles and responsibilities. The ultimate goal is to trigger a virtuous cycle of “generation equality” which is a sine qua non for inclusive growth and development.

Like gender equality, yet another thruster of development is youth power, also known as the “power-house of a nation”. The success of youth-led and youth-serving institutions in achieving social transformation, economic development, and technological innovations is apparent. But youth development and gender equality should not be merely regarded as the thrusters to promote economic growth, instead, it is the means to achieve sustainable development goals.

Having explained the necessity of women and youth empowerment in achieving development, it is now time to discuss a hybrid case where youth and women empowerment merge. The Municipal Corporation of Thiruvananthapuram, having a hundred wards and the second-largest democratically elected body in Kerala, will be led by a 21-year-old Arya Rajendran, India’s youngest Mayor from the capital of God’s own country.  The fabian revolutionary style decision of the district secretariat of CPI(M), won a monumental achievement in youth & women empowerment. The decision has lighted the wings of fire in the hearts of thousands of youths, especially women and girls across the country, to take up the roles and responsibilities in various spheres of life. Also, the decision is a trendsetter as it changed the age-old myth that political leadership posts are solely meant for middle-aged persons and senior citizens. Now, it’s made clear that any competent person, subject to the statutory age requirement, irrespective of their age may take up leadership positions without worry for gender criteria, and any form of social-economic discrimination. The Kerala local body election results 2020, also evidence the faith of society in women and youth, as a majority of the winning candidates are “nau jawans”.

Thiruvananthapuram has hope because Ms. Arya has got a vision, starting with strengthening the education and health sector in the city. This vision reflects the Kerala model development which always emphasized the development of these two sectors. In fact, the advanced health care system and awareness among people have been successful in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic to a great extent.

As the country is watching the success of Ms. Arya Rajendran, it is humbly reminded that in her not only vests the solemn responsibility to uphold constitutional principles and discharge constitutional functions, but she also carries the hopes of thousands of youth and women. May “she leads Trivandrum for development and peace”.

© The Eastern Herald
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An advocate practicing in the High Court of Kerala. Specialized in International Women's Health, Women's Rights & Children's Right. Certified in International Women's Rights and Health (Stanford), Gender & Environment (UN CC Learn). Contributor to The Eastern Herald.