Honourable Lulama Xingwana (Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities).

Just thought that I would share with you the highlights of the above conference that I attended last week in India with 11 other South Africans under the leadership of Honourable Lulama Xingwana (Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities).

Imagine a place where women feel safe and their ideas are respected as a valuable component to society. In this event, women’s thought, discussion and writing are not only sought after, but implemented as a foundation of a caring culture. Women from countries like Russia, India and Japan will meet to exchange views on everything from family to health, from careers to spirituality.

The conference was attended by women from 55 countries. The issues discussed included:

  • Spirituality and technology
  • 21st Century Technology and Ancient Wisdom
  • Redefining Technology
  • Technology and Healthcare
  • Technology and Education
  • Empowering Women through Technology

  • Women as Users of Technology
  • Technology: Are you a slave or a leader?
  • Women and social media
  • Women as creators of technology
  • Women as leaders of technology
  • Innovation and Creativity in Technology

The Vishalakshi Awards were presented on 3rd February. The Vishalakshi Awards were instituted at the First International Women’s Conference in 2005 in memory of the mother of H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. This award honours women who have worked selflessly to make a difference in this world. Our Minister was a recipient of this award and she presented our country’s national agenda within the context of the conference which was well received. She had many interviews with the worlds media.

Women leaders from the Middle East, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Egypt, South Africa, Bangladesh, USA, Italy and India were present at the conference. The conference witnessed participation from the Arab world, with women from the Middle East being the second-largest delegation at the event.

Some of the leaders at the conference were:

  • Chairperson IWC, Smt. Bhanumathi Narasimhan
  • Lulama Xingwana, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Republic of South Africa
  • Ronit Tirosh, Member of Parliament, Israel
  • Ms. Shiren Ibrahim Fattah, Representative, Kurdish Government, Iraq
  • Hon’ble Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, State Minister of Women and Children Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  • Ms. Orna Sagiv, Honourable Counsul General of Israel, Israel Consulate, Mumbai

Minister Lulama Xingwana shared the following on day one of the three day conference:
“I want to thank His Holiness for inviting me here. I came here to represent the women of South Africa but mainly to learn from India. We are here to learn. I believe India is a country rich in history, culture, traditional and indigenous technology, which we all need to learn from. As governments, most importantly as women, we should use technology. I also came to learn about spirituality and the art of living. It is important to know that there is a superior being out there which has given us the technology, the talent and we should respect it. All technology comes from that space. We should also know that we cannot go beyond what He has given us. For instance, no matter how much we progress in technology, we cannot bring back life.

South Africa is a very young democracy – just 18 years old. We have come here to learn to empower our women. The U.N. has chosen a special team in New York for the purpose of empowerment of rural women and fighting poverty and hunger. More than 40% of our ministers in South Africa are women. We are still fighting for more. I hope more of our women will be able to come forward after this conference. I would like to congratulate you for such a beautiful conference. I hope we’ll be able to take back commitment and spirituality from this conference.”


Women as Leaders of Technology
Numbers are increasing in the field of technology and so is her impact. A technologically sound woman has a quest for Knowledge, value for life, a sense of creativity, a sense of responsibility and a desire to achieve much more for society. Here, we meet some incredible women whose work has impacted the way we think and interact.

Session Objectives:

  • To deliberate on responsible leadership in the field of technology
  • To understand the challenges of being a woman in a technological environment
  • To share success stories
  • To create an inspirational network, both online and offline

Innovation & Creativity in Technology (Discussion + Workshop)
A creative person is not content with just one creation. There is a constant quest to improve, innovate and upgrade. In the field of technology we are continuously faced with a newer, improved version for anything that we use. As creators of technology, how do we tap the source of creativity and sustain the capacity to innovate? As users of technology, it should take you to a place where you are in love with your own nature and astonished to see the creativity of the mind. ‘Vismayo Yoga Bhumika’. The journey to explore the undiscovered dimensions of the Mind and Self starts with a sense of wonder. This session takes us on a creative journey through discussions and a workshop on creativity.

Technology: Are you a Slave or a Leader?
The purpose of technology is to bring comfort, ease and progress to society. Yet, we often get lost in the very technology that we have created. Technology is just a means to achieve this and not the end in itself. In this session, we discuss the positive and negative impact of technology in our lives and ask ourselves some insightful questions. How have our relationships and interactions changed? How can one infuse human values and a sense of belongingness in a life inundated by technology? Have we achieved greater connections at the expense of losing the human and personal touch? What is the Middle Path in use of technology? How do we deal with Internet Addiction? Here, we explore these and other aspects of the impact of technology in the lives of women from varied backgrounds.

Women & Social Media
The scalable, accessible and pervasive social media have turned around the way we communicate with each other and transformed the perceptions of the world that we live in. One can get caught in the World Wide Web or one can travel through it to connect and become more empowered. Technology brings connectivity and Spirituality brings the feeling of connectedness. Metcalfe’s Law that characterizes social media says that interconnecting two networks is said to greatly exceed the power of the two separate, individual networks.

We have seen the social media transforming individual relationships, business, social trends and even impacting governments as in the case of the Jasmine Revolution in the Middle East.

In this session, we seek to learn and discuss how the social media can be used in a responsible manner to create a harmonious field online that makes our interactions more productive.

Technology: Complementing the Human Touch
It is the prerogative of women to protect Mother Earth and the future generations. Technology is a support system to society. However, we need to take care of the economic and social fabric of the place. We still have vast untapped human resources that cannot be ignored especially in developing countries. Can technology replace the human touch? In this session, we gain insights from experts on the import of technology in Healthcare, Environment and Education with a special focus on empowering women through technology in the developing world. Technology and the Environment. How can technology support Mother Earth and be put to the best use to take care of the environment? How does one encourage the use of eco-friendly technologies? How does one manage e-waste and technological waste?

Technology & Health Care – A Holistic Approach to Medical Care
Has the intuitive capacity in medical care experts reduced because of too much dependence on technological tools? Technology has worked for the betterment in Public Health Systems. However in the developing countries what has been the human cost? Technology & Education: What is the Impact of Technology on Learning? Empowering Women Through Technology: What are the means to empower women in developing parts of the world through technology? What can be done to facilitate technological education?

Ancient Civilizations & Wisdom
Progress can only take place when we adapt to changes. This can only happen through a scientific reappraisal of our heritage. One of the greatest benefits of modern technology is that it has helped us to connect so easily and beautifully to our past. We can compare and learn from the past positively and learn what not to repeat. Here we explore the links between the ancient cultures of the world and the technology of our times. Modern mathematics, metallurgy, architecture owe a great debt to the past.

Redefining Technology
In general understanding, technology is associated with machines. Yet, the term has evolved into having larger connotations. It is also associated with the knowledge, wisdom, skills and processes related to a certain subject such as Medical Technology, Biotechnology. In this session we bring in some undiscovered technologies:

  • ‘Vaastu’ – (The Technology of Managing Spaces)
  • ‘Yantra’ – (Instruments of Spiritual Technology)
  • ‘Astrology’ – (The Technology of Time Management)

The Spiritual Connection
A woman’s circle of influence is large and she brings a passion for life, sharing, caring and dedication. Our wealth is not just the technology in our lives, but our health, our relationships and the human values with which we live. The complete technology is in the mind. This wonderful mind needs to be managed through spirituality and understanding how important it is to attend to the source. Intelligence is managing one’s own mind along with managing other things and understanding priorities. In this session, we discuss:

  • The importance of mind management
  • Wisdom from scriptures relevant to the Age of Technology
  • The Relevance of Spirituality in the life of a technologically sound woman

We bring back great learnings from the way that people live in a developing country and master the art of living – these people have absolutely nothing however have generosity of spirit, faith, compassion, simplicity and naturally espouse universal values of the spirit of Ubuntu and unity, humility, a sense of belonging and the desire to serve. They also have an amazing ability to use creativity and innovation especially in IT.

Moving forward let us all be inspired, creative and innovative by creating strategies and plans to utilise social media and multimedia to inform, educate and entertain the nation whilst entrenching our core values and dealing with our national priorities that impact on women. This is a key call as we move towards digitization and it’s an opportunity for us to use technology to touch lives and make a difference.

For more information go to: http://iwc.artofliving.org/iwc/

5th International Women's Conference

“Spirituality is the Technology of the Consciousness.
The Source of all technology and creativity is the human mind”
~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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