Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters organised a hybrid symposium on ‘Challenging The Notion of Evidence: Bringing Rights Into Research’ on May 6 2022 in New Delhi (also streamed online). Nidhi Goyal, Founder and Executive Director, was a part of the panel where she highlighted the importance of meaningful participation and inclusion in evidence-based research and advocacy, and spoke about how building around gaps and linkages is extremely important.
The symposium focused on enhancing the ecosystem of rights and evidence in sexual and reproductive health. Nidhi led with important questions: “What is accountability within our activism?” “How can we bring activism and research together?”
It was noted that groups whose narratives were made invisible were gnored — for example, during the pandemic, women with disabilities were often not the focus, increasing the importance of reports like ‘Neglected and Forgotten: Women with Disabilities during Covid Crisis in India.
Apart from activism, there were also important questions for researchers around challenging inbuilt biases and top-down approaches. For example: “Are our research methodologies or software accessible to people across disabilities or disabled researchers?” “How do we bring research to communities?” “How do we work with communities to bring specific research that is useful to them?”
Ethical conundrums around consent, thinking about dissemination, and accessibility were all marked as vital considerations. Nidhi also spoke about the importance of shorter videos and multimedia pieces for broad-based visibility of essential research.