Dr. Hansa Mehta Memorial Dialogue

Dr. Hansa Mehta Dialogue intends to raise awareness among the global community that gender equality, the empowerment of women and human rights of women and girls must be a central priority.

The inaugural 2021 dialogue foccused on women's economic empowerment in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. While every community has been impacted by the pandemic and is facing unprecedented challenges, women are bearing an unequal share of the negative economic and social fallout of COVID-19.

Dr. Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist of IMF delivered a keynote on "Women's Economic Empowerment and Inclusive Global Economic Growth: COVID-19 and Beyond" followed by an interactive conversation moderated by H.E Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of UAE to the UN. There were special addresses by Ms. Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary General, UN Department of Global Communications and Ms. Anita Bhatia, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UN-Women.

About Dr. Hansa Mehta

Dr. Hansa Mehta is a prominent Indian scholar, educator, social reformer and writer. Born on July 3, 1897, Dr. Mehta was a champion of women’s rights. As the President of All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) in 1946, she led the drafting of “Indian Women’s Charter of Rights”, which demanded gender equality, civil rights and justice for women in India. She was also part of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Indian Constitution, a member of its Advisory Committee and sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights. Many provisions of AIWC’s Charter formed the basis of gender-neutral provisions in the Indian constitution.

At the international level, Dr. Mehta played a pioneering role in drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). She was the only other female delegate, apart from Eleanor Roosevelt, to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. She is widely credited for successfully arguing against references to “men” as a synonym for humanity, and succeeded in changing the phrase, “All men are born free and equal” to “All human beings are born free and equal” in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The introduction of the more inclusive language in UDHR was an important milestone in the fight for women’s rights and gender equality.