Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Women with Disabilities Day today - March 28

Women with Disabilities Day observed on March 28 aims to increase awareness about the rights and situation of women with disabilities by serving as a portal of resources and work of the United Nations in this area.

The entry into force in 2008 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities gave hundreds of millions of such people a powerful tool that they could use to overcome their problems. By asserting the rights of people with disabilities to education, health, work, adequate living conditions, freedom of movement, freedom from exploitation and equal recognition before the law, the Convention also made it possible especially for women to have access to services and opportunities that would allow them to make decisions for themselves.

More than 600 million people in the world or 10 percent of the world’s population live with disabilities and they frequently encounter physical and social obstacles. They often lack the opportunities of the mainstream population and are usually the most marginalized in society. Disabled women face barriers to full equality and advancement because of such factors as race, age, language, ethnicity, culture, and religion. In certain cultures, legal and institutional barriers make women and girls with disabilities the victims of twofold discrimination – as women and girls and as persons with disabilities.

People who do not have experience with disabilities in their lives should be aware of what is out there. They should understand what it’s like to struggle with poverty and abuse, to face challenges in silence and isolation, to have few opportunities for work and little or no access to healthcare and shelter.

Girls and women with any form of disability are among the more vulnerable and marginalized in society. There is, therefore, need to take their special needs into account and address their concerns in all policymaking and programs.

Link: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/311659/women-with-disabilities-day

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seeking volunteers to survey public distribution system in 10 Indian states (expenses covered) - deadline April 25

Via an email from WAVEr Ishani Sen:

HARD WORK, NO PAY

(Yes, we're back!)

IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR THE PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM (PDS)?

WOULD CASH TRANSFERS BE BETTER

These are important questions today, especially in the context of the National Food Security Act. We believe that sound policies need to combine "cool" ideas with ground realities. To this end, we plan to conduct a survey during the month of June to study the PDS in ten Indian states.

ALL VOLUNTEERS WELCOME

Essential requirements: Volunteers should be prepared to work in rural areas for at least three weeks, without modern comforts. Prior experience of fieldwork, are preferred but not essential. Fluency in any of the following languages will be a bonus: Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil, Telegu. We will be covering your expenses, but there will be no remuneration.

If you are interested, please send us your c.v. at aashu.gupta20@gmail.com by 25 April, 2011. Extra marks for early birds -we start screening applications on 10 April, 2011!

News story about WAVEr Kalki Subramaniam being inspired to start own video project for transgender women

Subramaniam models her video-making project on one run by WAVE or Women Aloud: Video blogging for Empowerment, which is run by Angana Jhaveri and Sapna Shahani.

Once a year the two women gather young women from every corner of India in the state of Goa for a training course in video blogging. No subject is taboo.

This is an extract about WAVE from the full news story at: http://www.womensenews.org/story/lesbian-and-transgender/110218/indian-video-activist-puts-transgender-in-focus

For the sake of women, we need a mass movement - Kishwar Desai

One wonders why, whilst India is modernising and globalising so rapidly, it has been unable to carry a majority of its women with it? Why, even amongst the most deprived and backward, in each class and caste, are girls and women are at the bottom of the pile? And then, why are we surprised that the greatest victims of violence are also women, both before and after birth?

After all, if you devalue human life according to gender — isn’t it a natural corollary that they will be ill-treated and extinguished? There are many ways in which women can be wiped out — and India specialises in all of them.

Perhaps the only way women can begin to climb the ladder to equality is to create a space for themselves, as women all over the world have done. The suffragette and women’s liberation movement in the West was a powerful and often violent tool through which women gained respect at home and the workplace. However, women in India thought that we would automatically get the gains of this movement — but this has not happened, and the overweening patriarchal system which we inherited from our founding ‘fathers’ did not change even after independence and even after we had a woman prime minister.

The caste factor has probably been the worst enemy of the Indian woman — because it has prevented a gender-based unity to arise.

Similarly, the focus on religious and minority groups has also hurt the cause of women — it has prevented a targeted gender based programme to arise. This is a programme which has to cut across all age groups and sections and society — where quotas are created and reservations are given, to physically pull Indian women into an era of social and economic security. Because only if women are economically gainful — or at least have the choice of being economically valuable — will they be respected and safe from mindless violence.

But why do Indian women not rise up and fight for their rights? Isn’t it true that apart from not having the education or the self-confidence — Indian women do not even have a pan-Indian role model or a leader ? And isn’t it true that the constant aggression shown towards them (i.e, us) has given rise to the classic Stockholm syndrome: we are completely in thrall of our captors.

Violence against women in India is almost part of the country’s DNA. And docility is expected from us in the most trying circumstances. Even in our mythology, Draupadi and Sita are the dominant figures. And both women were publicly humiliated by their husbands just when they would have expected their support. Draupadi may have sought revenge — but for that too she had to depend on her husbands, the very men who had let her down! Radha, the ideal liberated woman, in love with Krishna, is also abandoned by him.

Is that remarkable—or is it just business as usual? Can we truly erase the image of a Sita sinking ultimately back into the earth, a defeated figure, or of a Radha pining for her lover ? With such ‘heroines’ as our template, is it a surprise that women can be and are, usually treated poorly? Of course, these figures are taken from the Hindu pantheon — but they are part of our dominant social narrative, which pre-dates the other reformist and religious movements.

Violence can be of many kinds : it is not always expressed through rape or physical aggression. It is also expressed through literature, song, cinema — through the so-called gentler arts. But where is the space for strong, independent-minded women in our socio-political narrative? Isn’t it true that this space is rapidly shrinking? Just because we have an elite amongst Indian women who are literate and a few of them are hugely visible, heading organizations and political parties — should we be complacent or should we realise that these remarkable achievements does not reflect the lives of ordinary women who are still subjugated and still suffer unimaginable horrors.

Are Indian women far too docile and too disunited — severely divided by class and caste to be ever united? For real change to come into society, you cannot have laws. You need a social revolution, you need a mass movement. And there has never been a movement, barring the freedom struggle , which has united India. For the sake of the women in India, can we hope for one today?

Writer Kishwar Desai is the winner of the Costa First Novel Award for ‘Witness the Night’

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/360-degree/sake-women-we-need-mass-movement-360

Deccan Chronicle

February 13th, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Journalists Form National Platform for Struggles

http://pd.cpim.org/2011/0213_pd/02132011_18.html

IN a joint statement issued on February 10, representatives of various
organisations of all over the country, representing over 12000
journalists, announced the setting up of a National Platform of
Journalist Organisations to work in unison with the apex Confederation
of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Organisations, the All India
Newspaper Employees Federation and other press bodies. This they said
was a united front to fight not only for a proper wage board but also
on the questions of ethics and democratisation of the media, gender
equity, media reform, and to expose the paid news syndrome and
connected deals.

The organisations which met in the office of the Delhi Union of
Journalists, with DUJ general secretary S K Pande presiding, resolved
to have continuous joint programmes, rallies and dharnas not only to
concentrate on just and fair wages but also for more social security,
a new information order and a more credible media.

The meeting took stock of the current situation including delays in
constituting a wage board. (Earlier, under the banner of the National
Alliance of Journalists, they had submitted memoranda to the Labour
Ministry, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry and the Press
Council of India.) They resolved to start a phased struggle beginning
this month end followed up by a direct action programme, to be
announced shortly.

Members took strong note of the functioning of the Press Council and
the Wage Board. The paid news syndrome and connected pressures, even
in national press bodies, was discussed and the demand made for a
Media Council and a Media Commission to restore a credible media free
from government fetters and from the stranglehold of press barons.
Drastic amendments to bring the Working Journalists Act in tune with
the present day realities and constitution of a Media Council on the
line of the earlier press commissions were also demanded.

A steering committee has been constituted with offices in Hyderabad,
Kerala and Delhi. It was announced that the Association of Accredited
News Cameramen Association (AANC) will also be fraternal ties with the
National Platform.

A General Council meeting of the National Platform is expected to take
place in Hyderabad in March end or early April, preceded by a meeting
close to Delhi. Meetings in Goa, Kerala, Orissa and UP are being
finalised.

Received via: ZestMedia

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jalebi Ink (www.jalebiink.com), a media collective for children and youth, is looking for volunteers

Hi,

Jalebi Ink (www.jalebiink.com), a media collective for children and youth, is looking for volunteers.

( Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jalebi-Ink/120863297941920?v=info )

We seek to give young people the skills and tools to communicate about issues impacting on their lives. We have seen a lack of social issue coverage within mainstream media and a huge under-representation of youth in India. Through video, online write-ups, podcasts etc, it is youth who can bring the issues they care about to the forefront their communities. We empower youth to explore social issues and express their thoughts with the creative skills and talents they already have. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders and Jalebi Ink offers a constructive and meaningful way to channel their knowledge and opinions into projects.

Project and workshop coordinators:
We need people who will supervise and coordinate projects like Jalebi Radio, GreenWatch and My Mohalla. My Mohalla is Jalebi Ink’s critically acclaimed project that makes anthropologists of young people in the city. It has been covered extensively by the press. Started a year ago, My Mohalla attempts to track the history and culture of Mumbai neighbourhoods through interviews, images and narratives about its people and places.

What we are looking at is leaving some people in charge of specific sections on the site and projects.

These are:

My Mohalla (The Neighbourhood Project): Our premier project that is essentially narratives of neighbourhoods from POV of the children and youth. Hindustan Times called it "a living diary of Mumbai by children". Time Out magazine has called it "an initiative that makes anthropologists out of children."
Read more about it here: http://www.timeoutmumbai.net/client_coverstory/client_coverstory_details.asp?code=1056

The Book Detectives: A platform to discuss books, writers and writing.

Jalebi Radio (online)

Jalebi Talkies: Where we introduce world cinema to children.

General (Includes the sections - Chatterbox, Calendar, general inputs from kids that do not fit into any broad category etc)

We are also creating at least two new sections:

GreenWatch: A section on green issues reported by children from various cities
Jalebi's Jungli Kids: A Nature and Wildlife section

Outreach: We are also looking at increasing Outreach in Mumbai and other cities.

After an orientation session outlining what Jalebi Ink is all about and the kind of content we are for and against, the people in charge of sections will be left to take the sections pretty much where they want to. And each section head will have a short bio and photo in the team's About Us page. There will be no pressure on anyone about deadlines or targets - we just want something to keep happening on the site and in the real world -- and since there are about six diff projects and sections, uploads on the site will keep happening.

If you know of anyone who may be interested in any of the above, let me know.

Regards,
Anuradha Sengupta

New artist residency in Guwahati - A+type!

Desire Machine Collective
A+type : Call for Collaborations

A+type is a new initiative of Desire Machine Collective. The founding members of DMC are Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya.

A+type

Keywords: Show your syndrome, space as medium, melancholy, relational, architecture, decadent, mind scape, stasis, mediate, media lab, living, reinterpreting space, eating, slacking, sleeping, changing, local, collaborations, community.



A+type, a new extension of desire machine collective, opens in March 2011. The A+type is an experiment in spatial imaginary with an objective to explore a typology of a contemporary cultural space that can create a social engagement which allows for a translocal exchange of knowledge, experiments and aesthetic experiences.

Location: A+type is situated near the bank of the river Brahmaputra in the city of Guwahati, which is a 1459.68 km away from New Delhi.

Desire Machine Collective is an artists’ collective committed to activating public spaces. A+Type reinvestigates the notion and use of space, in its common understanding. It is a durational project where an ‘Assam type’ house is opened up for people to interpret in their own ways. We make an open call for the project and accept proposals.
Participants are invited to come and live for a particular period of time in an “Assam type”, house and develop their practice in relation it. The British developed what is popularly called “Assam type" architecture as a hybrid form incorporating elements from the local indigenous architecture. These structures have become cultural markers of an era gone by and have a certain melancholy attached to them.
Participants receive a cognitive map, historical and personal background of the space and make an intervention. The duration is flexible and so are the envisaged "uses”. Residents are invited to explore and develop their individual or communal relationship to the space in terms its functional, social, architectural, historical and cultural aspects. They can choose to “use” the space as a residency, a studio, a screening space, to host talks, plays etc. Different residents constantly redefine the space and make for new interpretation of this perishing construct. Allowing for a renewed conversation on its place in history and the future.

This project initiates the process of reactivating these structures, documenting the design and history of the “Assam type” architecture and its use. The inhabitants themselves document and archive the house in creating a participatory-relational event. The project provides an opportunity to interact, experiment and work with local materials. Guwahati offers diverse inspirations as a cosmopolitan city located in the diverse region commonly referred to as the Northeast of India. The challenges of the project will encourage artists to move beyond the comfort of their studio spaces and work in new circumstances.

Since its inception in 2007, Periferry a project of desire machine collective has undertaken a number of projects dealing with hybrid practices. It has hosted many artists from diverse countries in its residency programmes, workshops, seminars and projects. It believes in fostering interactions between artists, curators, scholars, writers and young students in the local and global context. We collaborate, share and have interactions with the local artist community.

The A+type offers short duration projects and one month artist residency through out the year. While DMC welcomes any creative proposal, applicants are encouraged to first consider proposing engagement with the “Assam Type” house. We invite a letter of interest and a short proposal from interested people.

The A+type is intended for artists, designers, architects, curators, art critics, art historians and other practitioners. 
Residents can make works in the form of interventions, public performances, experimental audio-visual works and interdisciplinary and hybrid forms. Work produced will be exhibited, performed and shared in Guwahati during the residency period.

Founded
Periferry - 2007

Eligibility
artists, designers, architects, curators, art critics, art historians, writers, researches, filmmakers, scientists, and other practitioners from any country.

Expectation from the artist:
* One public lecture.
* Interaction with local art students.
* The residency ends with an open studio or exhibition.
* Season: Year-round.
* Average length of residency: 1 month
* Maximum number of artists at one time: 3
* Accessibility: Sorry, no wheelchair access at this time.
* Accommodation: Individual bedroom with shared bath, common kitchen facilities.

Facilities:
*Broadband Internet connectivity.
*Lots of open space for interaction and communal gathering.
*Food: kitchen and cooking facilities. Local restaurants conveniently located close by.
*Library and archive of books with a section on the Northeast India.

Chargeable costs:
*Housing and studio: 25$ per day / 550$ per month (payable in Indian Rupees at the time of arrival).
*Charges are subject to change, please verify current charges with us.
*Other expenses to be borne by the artists.

Funding:
*This is an artist-led space; no stipends or fellowships are available.

Selection:
*Made by co-ordinator by open calls or on the basis of recommendations by other artists
*Art assistants available on moderate fee.

Health
* Hospital and pharmacy within walking distance.
* Gardens / parks /river side for walks and relaxation within easy reach.
Note: We recommend that you obtain necessary vaccinations, preventive medical procedures and appropriate medical insurance before departing to India.

How to apply?
With a letter of interest and a short proposal
An application letter with the following sections:
1. Your contact information (name, telephone, address, email, website, etc)
2. Your letter of motivation, explicitly stating why you are interested in working with “A+Type” and what you would like to do.
3. Your project proposal - Your project proposal should answer the following questions:
i) What is the title of the proposal?
ii) What do you plan to make/do?
iii) What methodologies will you use?
4. Your supporting material
i) Resumé or CV
ii) URL of online portfolio or images and project descriptions in your application.
5. Additional information
i) When would you like to come?


-- Sonal Jain & Mriganka Madhukaillya

desire machine collective

www.desiremachinecollective.net
www.periferry.in

Sunday, March 20, 2011

IDPA (Indian Documentary Producers Association) awards

CALLING ENTRIES FOR IDPA AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE 2010

Dear Friends,

It is that time of year again to send in your entries for the IDPA Awards for Excellence 2010. We do look forward to your participation and do spread the words to your friends and colleagues.

Special Categories
Films on Environment
Films on Disabilities
Films Shot on Cell Phones

Early Bird ENTRY Deadline: upto 15th March 2011
Regular ENTRY Deadline: upto April 15, 2011
Late ENTRY Deadline: upto 30th April 2011

Please find attached the entry form.
Do not miss out on the benefit of the early bird entry.

IDPA members get a discount on entry fees

For more info and details

log on to www.idpaindia.org
or Call Pooja 022-24920757

With every duly filled Entry form for IDPA AWARDS
you need to send the following
* DVD of entry. One DVD for every category.
+
Soft & Hard Copies of:

  1. 100 & 200-word synopsis of the film
  2. Two stills from the film
  3. Vertical Format Photograph of Director of the film
  4. 50 & 100-word Biography and Filmography of the Director
  5. Each DVD must be labeled clearly, and must contain the film title.

along with

* Cheque/Demand Draft favouring Indian Documentary Producers’ Association”

to
Indian Documentary Producers' Association
223 Famous Cine Building
20, Dr. E Moses Road
Mahalaxmi
Mumbai 400011
Phone 022-24920757
idpaindia@gmail.com
www.idpaindia.org

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Research Associate position in Bombay at film school

The Katha Centre for Film Studies calls for applications to the position of
Research Associate.

The primary responsibility would be to bring into fruition the vision of the
Film Curatorship Program as developed by KCFS in association with the India
Foundation for the Arts (IFA).

The main aim of this program is to train young film enthusiasts and film/art
students in the practice of film curation.

The Research Associate will be responsible for:

1) Research; which would include research on cinema and film curatorial
practices.

2) Documentation.

3) Creating and maintaining a website for Katha Centre for Film Studies

4) Building a library of outstanding film DVDs, Journals and books on
cinema.

5) Maintaining correspondence and communication related to organizing
workshops, events and spreading awareness of Katha Centre for Film Studies

6) Conducting brainstorming sessions with the Advisory Board with the
aim of evolving clear ideas with respect to the nature of the film curation
workshop.

7) Preparing Draft papers related to the structuring of the workshop.

8) Preparing Narrative reports regarding the work accomplished by Katha
Centre for Film studies to be submitted to IFA.

9) Organising and executing the film curation workshop, film festival
as well as film screening programs.

10) Maintaining clear detailed accounts and financial reports to be
submitted to Katha, Delhi and IFA, Bangalore.

11) Conducting Cinema Satsang events

12) Instituting film appreciation workshops and sessions with different
institutions.

The appointed person will have to report to work five times a week for four
hours each. During events and festivals, the work hours will depend on the
amount of time required for the task to be completed.

The official date of joining is 1st April 2011 and the appointee shall
receive an honorarium of

Rs. 20,000 per month until 31st of March 2012.

On successful completion, the appointee will be eligible for an honorarium
of Rs. 25,000 p.m. in 2012.

Queries should be addressed to:

Prabodh Parikh

Director

KCFS

*katha.film@gmail.com*

*www.kathacfs.in*

WAVE featured on Better India website

See the full article here - WAVE: Voices of semi-urban women

For the urban educated middle class, digital media has become the ultimate mode of expression & liberation, connecting millions across the globe. But the rural and semi-urban populace of the country is not able to understand and use digital media in an efficient manner. At least this was the case until WAVE came into being.

WAVE aka Women Aloud Video Blogging for Empowerment is a unique digital platform for young semi-urban women to voice their perspectives on issues that matter through video blogs.

From Lebul Nisa in Srinagar to Chinju Prakash in Trivandrum, women empowered with the WAVE training blog about issues like gender prejudice, health, after-effects of counter-insurgency operations in the North East, etc., etc.

Sapna Shahani, Director of Wave India, moved to India 4 years back and conceptualized WAVE. Here’s an interview with her :

How and When did the idea of WAVE come about ?

I had a background in community media while working in the US at a TV station of this kind for 6 years. I wanted to come back to India and work towards the end of training people in media skills so they could communicate about social change. A friend and colleague Angana Jhaveri, an NGO called Mam Movies and I collaborated in proposing the idea of a nationwide online women’s video portal featuring social issues videos created by grassroots practitioners. Our proposal won a US-based ‘Digital Media and Learning competition’ sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation and we received funds to set up our vision in 2009.

Who was the first blogger that joined the initiative ? How difficult or easy is it to convince women to video blog about issues concerning their society ?

There wasn’t really a first blogger. We put out the call for applications at the same time and selected 30 out of 150 applicants at the same time so our whole group joined simultaneously. It can be easy or very difficult to convince women to blog about community issues, depending on the person and their level of commitment. The challenge is to find people who are passionate enough, but it is certainly possible, especially when you offer the incentives of training and stipends.

What has been the biggest impact of the initiative according to you ?

This is difficult to answer because there have been a few areas so you can be the judge.

  1. Almost all 30 women who completed the 9 month mentorship program have reported huge increases in their confidence levels and knowledge. Many are pursuing related careers and earning an income from video production.
  2. We successfully established a first-of-its-kind online model of community media which will hopefully inspire other projects like this and will forever remain a large online archive of 175 videos from Indian women’s points of view.
  3. All the women in the program are very friendly with each other, collaborate and look to each other for help in their work too. It’s also likely that our project has advanced the ongoing women’s movement in India in some way.

Tell us a bit more about the social entrepreneurship side of WAVE.

Well, it’s being developed at the moment as we are in the market research phase but the general idea is to offer video services to market research companies (particularly those who need to interview potential customers on video from the rural markets), NGOs and small businesses needing profile videos, government and NGO funders needing audit information, organisations needing training videos, etc.

Future Plans for WAVE INDIA ?

Our plans are to open up our portal to allow anyone to upload gender-sensitive social cause videos to our website at www.waveindia.org, gain investment for our social business and provide employment for our mentees, continue our parallel NGO activities of providing trainings and equipment to marginalised communities who need to voice their issues online.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A report on the Leadership Institute of the Programme on Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights attended by WAVE's Sapna Shahani attended



PWESCR’s first annual Leadership Institute in Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was held in Gurgaon, India, from January 23 to January 29, 2011. The venue of this international Institute was TERI (The Energy Research Institute), located 30km south of Delhi. Twenty four women and men from various countries (like Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Colombia, India, Jamaica, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda) participated in this training with the goal to effectively use a human rights framework to drive change and to address structural causes of poverty, discrimination and inequalities.

Day 1 of the first Phase started with identifying some common trends and differences in what women celebrate, what challenges they face, and what aspirations push them forward in their quest for equality of rights and opportunities. An in-depth analysis of the social construct of gender and gender based discrimination provided the space for challenging cultural stereotypes and discussing the role of various formal and informal institutions that either perpetuate or combat these stereotypes. On the second and third day of the Institute, the focus was on poverty and dignity. The myth of feminization of poverty was probed in to, and the question of poverty as lack of capabilities was discussed. This paved the way for a discussion on Globalization and the neo-liberal paradigm on women’s poverty. January 26th was the fourth day of PWESCR’s Leadership Institute, and the day started with remembering and honoring India’s Republic Day. The participants got acquainted with the UN Human Rights system, and learned that one doesn’t need to be an expert to get into the UN. Later, through various activities, aspects of the word PANEL were demonstrated: P for Participation, A for Accountability, N for Non-discrimination, E for Empowerment, and L for Linkage to Human Rights Standards. Day 5 and 6 were devoted to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and exploring opportunities for the use of the ICESCR as well as of the ESCR framework in other UN Covenants to advance women’s rights based on the concepts of equality and dignity. On the last day or Day 7, the participants presented their group assignments on litigating a case on the violation of the right to work of hundred women due to the loss of their poultry farm to a multinational; holding a public hearing on the internal displacement of women; drawing up a public policy for rehabilitation of internally displaced populations in war torn areas; and designing a media campaign for recognition of ‘housework as paid work’.

At the concluding session of the Institute, participants highlighted the emotional experience of their cross-cultural exchange with colleagues from other continents. In spite of specific national and regional contexts, the common features of women’s struggles and of the challenges they face provided the ground for a shared understanding of problems and of the skills required overcoming them. In the next few months, participants will be working on an action plan integrating the knowledge and skills gained in this Phase in preparation of Phase 2 of the Institute to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal, in June.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New book edited by WAVE supporter Bishakha Datta of Point of View - 9 Degrees of Justice


9 Degrees of Justice - New Perspectives on Violence Against Women in India
Synopsis:
From an early focus on rape, dowry and sati, feminist struggles on violence against women in India have traversed a wide terrain to include issues that were invisible in the 1980s. Nine Degrees of Justice is a collection of writings by second and third-generation feminists. They share their perceptions and perspectives on violence against women through a series of thought-provoking essays, which establish that justice for women has not even reached double digit figures – hence nine degrees.

The essays raise questions at every step – has using the law led to justice for women who face violence? How can we address violence in public spaces and cyber space without demonizing either? How can we start to speak about lesbian suicides and violence among women loving women? What is the violence of stigma? And who is the ‘woman’ deserving representation from the feminist movement?

Contributing Authors: Farah Naqvi, Shamita Das Dasgupta, Shilpa Phadke, Sharmila Joshi, Puja Roy, Purnima Manghnani, Maya Ganesh, Rajashri Dasgupta, Manjima Bhattacharjya, Bishakha Datta, Sonia Jabbar , and Mona Zote.

Join us in an exploration of some of these issues through a creative and visual launch with four of the book’s authors - Shilpa Phadke on risking pleasure, Manjima Bhattacharjya on performing sexuality, Bishakha Datta on prostitution and ways of seeing, and Puja Roy on the invisibility of harassment in the workplace.

Divorce Dues - Story in the Telegraph Calcutta by Smitha Verma

Financial woes beset women who separate from their husbands. A survey says most divorced women don’t even file for maintenance.

It’s a date that Nitisha Rao cannot miss. For the last two years, the 30-something Pune resident has been visiting a family court every month. She is seeking maintenance from her husband of three years, now separated. Rao has asked for Rs 7,000 a month, but her husband argues that he is unable to meet her demand with his Rs 20,000 monthly earnings. And the judges are still undecided.
“I quit my job after my marriage and I don’t even own a house. How am I going to sustain myself without a job,” asks Rao, who is now staying in her father’s house.
But Rao, going by a recent survey, is not a solitary case. The survey by the Delhi-based Economic Research Foundation says that approximately 80 per cent of divorced or separated women in India live with a monthly income of less than Rs 4,000. The survey, released in December, highlights the sorry state of women when it comes to matters such as maintenance, share in marital property and economic rights.
“The findings reveal that the majority lives at the mercy of their husbands during the subsistence of marriage, and after separation they depend on their parents,” says Vibha Chaturvedi, director, Women’s Studies and Development Centre, Delhi University.
Under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) a wife has the right to maintenance. The section says the term “wife” includes a separated or divorced woman and she is entitled to maintenance until she remarries. Yet only 47.4 per cent of the women surveyed had filed for maintenance. “In most cases, women don’t ask for maintenance because of the fear of a long legal battle, ignorance or economic independence,” says Chaturvedi.
Not surprisingly, women activists are now arguing for stronger maintenance laws. The law as it stands now doesn’t specify the range of maintenance that women should get. “It is the judge who decides the amount of money that should be paid to divorced or separated women,” says Malvika Rajkotia, an advocate with the Delhi High Court. “And mostly women have to settle for a pittance,” she adds.
According to Section 20 of the Domestic Violence Act, loss of earnings can also be compensated by the magistrate while assessing maintenance. Factors such as medical expenses or the loss caused by any destruction of property also have to be compensated. Subsection 2 of the act says the monetary relief granted should be adequate, reasonable and consistent with the standard of living that the aggrieved person is accustomed to. “The law may spell out certain things yet nothing is implemented as there is no clear directive on the amount,” says Rajkotia.
The survey highlighted that only 35.6 per cent maintenance cases were resolved in a year. The rest took anywhere between one year and five years. Only 6.4 per cent of those surveyed appealed for an increase of maintenance although most of them were dissatisfied with the quantum of money awarded to them. “The long legal battle ahead puts off most women from pursuing a case,” says Rajkotia.
The onus of providing the income certificate of the husband too lies with the woman. This is often difficult for women to procure for usually they have no access to such documents. “Most women, especially those from rural backgrounds, have no idea about their husband’s income, let alone be able prove it,” says Jaya Sagade, vice-principal, ILS Law College, Pune. “Also, in a divorce through mutual consent, 90 per cent of the women settle for no maintenance,” adds Sagade.
Besides maintenance, lawyers and women activists are also looking at a law on a woman’s right to marital property. After a separation or a divorce, most women move out of their marital homes to live with parents. “In India, in the absence of any law for division of marital property, the husband usually walks away with moveable and immovable assets,” says Supreme Court advocate Kirti Singh.
Sarika Sood, a 32-year old media professional from Jaipur, is a case in point. Sood had to fight a bitter battle for divorce as she was paid a pittance as maintenance for herself and her child by her husband. When she left her marital home, her husband walked away with almost everything that they had bought together, she says. “But I had no proof to refute his claim to things we bought jointly during our marriage,” says Sood.
The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act does not give women the right to residence. They are given a certain sum in lieu of residence. Indian family laws follow the “separation of property” regime. Goa, which is still governed by the Civil Code of 1867, is an exception. There, both spouses are equally entitled to marital assets. Everywhere else, the property belongs to the person under whose name it is registered.
“We want to ensure that women have somewhat equal rights in the property acquired by the couple whether or not the asset or property has been bought in the woman’s name,” says Singh.
The Domestic Violence Act of 2005, however, gives the right of residence to a woman facing violence within the home. It recognises a woman’s right to reside in the shared house with her husband/partner while a dispute is on. It also says that if an abused woman seeks alternative accommodation, her husband/partner must pay for it and her maintenance. “However, there is still no right to marital property as it is a right of occupation and not of ownership,” explains Singh.
The lawmakers are pressing for changes in the law to recognise a woman’s economic rights. Several countries have given legal recognition to the unpaid work done by women homemakers.
They argue that the State needs to look into all factors to help women in distress. “It needs to form a corpus fund to help women sustain themselves till they are able to maintain themselves,” says Jawahar Raja, an advocate with Delhi High Court.
According to V.P. Seemandani, a senior advocate from Kerala, legislation should be in place for the formation of a corpus fund. “There should be an appointing authority who can ask employers to deduct the maintenance amount from a husband’s salary and send it across to an aggrieved woman,” says Seemandani.
But despite the rising clamour over the need for new laws, it is going to be a long haul for women seeking economic rights. Till then, Rao will continue to make her monthly visits to the Pune family court.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Three WAVE videos are finalists in the US-based Women's Voices Now festival

Congratulations to 19-year old Rama Barhat from Udaipur (Jazbaa), Neha Sehgal from Haryana (Whose Honour) and Salam Babina Devi from Manipur (Land of Dragons)!

Winners will be announced at the Festival Closing Ceremony on March 19, 2011. Wish them luck!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

For those in Delhi: Visit the Jamia Bazaar on 13/14 March at India Islamic Cultural Centre

Cequin Creates A Unique Inclusive Platform For Women From Underprivileged Segments of Society

CEQUIN Presents JAMIA BAZAR, a vibrant exhibition that offers a glimpse into the world within the forgotten world that resides in Jamia Nagar.CEQUIN ( Center for Equity and Inclusion), an NGO lead by Sara Pilot and Lora Prabhu with a Gender Resource Centre in Jamia Nagar announces JAMIA BAZAAR, a two day exhibition that not just show-cases the world of Jamia Nagar to Delhi's denizens but also offers a platform for women residing in this area to show-case their skills.

New Delhi, Delhi, March 9, 2011 /India PRwire/ -- Keeping with its mission of promoting inclusion and women's enterprise,CEQUIN creates this platform to showcase Jamia's crafts, cuisine and culture. In partnership with a few other local NGOs and India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC), CEQUIN will present the two days Jamia Bazaar on 13th and 14th March, at IICC, Lodi Road, from 12p.m. to 6 p.m. This is the first time that women and girls of poor households of Jamia will be getting an opportunity to go out and showcase their talents.

At the Jamia Bazaar visitors can enjoy hand crafted products created by women at the CEQUIN Gender Resource Center and members of other NGOs that CEQUIN ties up with. These include Muslim Women's Welfare Organisation, Muslim Women's Forum, Dr Zakir Hussain Society and Roshni Craft Centre.Embroidered kurtis and shalwars, beaded bags, artifacts etc will be available at colorful stalls. There will also be a gourmet trail featuring hot biryani, melt- in- the- mouthkebabs, refreshing chaat-paprietc. Beauticians trained at centre will offers guestson the spot services like mehendi, tattoo, nail art, massage etc. Cultural programs will be performed by women and youngsters from Jamia. This will include street plays, dance, music, recitation, etc.

Says Sara Pilot, "The women of this area are very spirited and talented, particularly good at fine embroidery. Many exporters and designers engage the skilled women for piece work. These women however do not have much bargaining power, and work comes sporadically. These have never organised themselves in groups, prior to CEQUIN's efforts. Also, they have never attempted to test their entrepreneurial skills." Jamia Bazaar is the first such effort in the inclusive process. "The Centre also helps in developing market linkages and placements. Our guiding approach is to be innovative, catalytic and sustainable. The long term vision for this project is to make a conscious effort to breakout of gender stereotype activities," adds Lora.

Jamia Nagar, historic in its origin and sterling in its cultural and intellectual roots, being supported by the iconic Jamia University, has been ghettoized by the rest of the city. Itsresidents rarely mingle with the rest of Delhi, nor is there much awareness within the rest of Delhi regarding Jamia and its culture. This was further accentuated following the infamous Batla House episode. The slums around the Jamia University area have remained underdeveloped, cut off from many civic amenities, primarily because many of these are unauthorised colonies.

ABOUT CEQUIN:

CEQUIN, in partnership with JamiaMilia University, has been running a SamajikSuvidha Kendra (SSK) / Gender Resource Centre (GRC) in the Jamia Nagar area, under the aegis of Delhi Government's Mission Convergence since March 2009. The project aims to reduce poverty by promoting women's access to their economic, social and cultural rights and making them agents of change. It is at present catering to women and children from approximately 10,000 urban poor households. The identified areas of the Centre's operations are around Jamia Nagar, covering vulnerable clusters of Taimoor Nagar, Bharat Nagar, Noor Nagar, Zakir Nagar, Batla House, GaffarManzil, Johri Farm, Okhla Village, OkhlaVihar, Haji Colony, MujeebBagh, Ajmalbagh, Khizrabad, Gafoor Nagar, Saidabad, Gaddha Colony, Masigarh, Julaina Village, Ishwar Nagar, Maharani Bagh, SukhdevVihar, Friends Colony East and New Friends Colony. These congested clusters are of poor and predominantly Muslim households. The extensive slum areas comprise of temporary shacks housing hundreds of households. Many poor families also live in one room tenements in unauthorized constructions.

When CEQUIN started operations, there was minimal activity, in the context of empowerment of women, happening in this area. In order to develop an in-depth understanding of the problems in this area, CEQUIN completed an exhaustive household survey of over 10,000 households.This survey helped to identify the gaps in the developmental work that has taken place in this area over the years. While a few organizations were imparting skills in tailoring, toy making etc., these activities were not strategic, and did not appear to have any spin off effects in terms of empowerment.

Guided by CEQUINs belief that empowerment can be achieved by making efforts to transcend the welfare mode of charity and doles, to that of social enterprise and entitlements; the GRC has undertaken the following six activities:

Vocational Training

The GRC is imparting vocational training in three areas, handicrafts, cutting & tailoring and beauty culture. The approach is to go beyond skill building. The vocational training must translate into economic empowerment. The strategy being employed is to train and empower women with business management skills and make them employable. So far over 1000 women and girls have benefited from these trainings.

Non Formal Education

The Centre conducts non-formal education for children out of school, remedial classes for children in school as well as adult literacy classes. There have been nearly 500 beneficiaries for this project component so far.

Empowerment and Leadership Development

Empowerment and Leadership Development is an important agenda for CEQUIN. This component of the project is crosscutting for all the programmes of the centre. It includes gender training, human rights training, social entitlements training, financial training, right to information training, health and nutrition awareness training, legal awareness training and general knowledge training. The Centre is bringing in specialized resource people for these trainings.

Health

Health and hygiene is a constant challenge for people living in the extensive slum areas comprising of temporary shacks housing hundreds of households. Civic amenities in these areas are nearly non-existent. With the average number of children per household at 5-6, reproductive health is a serious concern in this area. CEQUINs efforts to create significant impact involves three core areas of work which include organizing free health check up camps, offering free weekly OPDs in the center itself and also guiding mothers on nutrition.

Legal Counseling

Living in areas where crime is high these poor residents don't have access to any kind of legal aid. The women especially continue to suffer domestic violence in silence because of the highly conservative nature of the community. So, free legal aid is being provided by a lawyer who visits the centre twice a week. The primary focus is to first provide counsel and work out reconciliation. The next step is to provide legal counseling and if required, help from legal aid cell. Over 100 cases have been tackled at the Centre and it has been really encouraging that women have found the courage to trust the GRC with their intimate problems.

The GRC regularly organizes Legal awareness camps to create general awareness on women's rights. The topics covered in these sessions are the Domestic Violence Act 2005, Right to Information Act, Women Helpline, Human Rights, Juvenile Justice, Divorce under Muslim law and the Police Control Room.

Legal empowerment is an important component of this project. It is envisaged that in order to effectively empower the community, a group of advocates from within it will be created, who will effectively communicate concerns of the community. This group will have skills and training to seek solutions to problems through institutional processes.

An intensive baseline study was conducted providing recommendations and inputs for this training. The paralegal trainings have been designed, based on these recommendations. A group of 20 community members has been formed. It is envisaged that these groups will emerge as paralegal workers after an intensive process of training which has been rolled out by CEQUIN.

The trainings on human rights and law that have been initiated, are helping the community members to develop an understanding of the legal system. The idea is to enable them with knowledge and skills that will make them confident to use their advocacy skills to get their grievances addressed.

The ultimate goal is to help create and leave behind a permanent legal resource base in the community. As a result of this paralegal presence, we hope that a constantly growing number of community members will participate in addressing their problems and carry out interventions wherever possible in order to result in greater justice for the community.

Self Help Group (SHG)

The Jamia Nagar area is very conservative and women have rarely participated in the public space. Some sporadic efforts towards Self Help Group formations amongst women have been attempted in the past, but were not successful. This project is therefore treading very carefully to gain the confidence of the community. While the target group is women, men are also being engaged as partners. There is also an environment of communal alienation, in this area, which has to be tackled with sensitivity.

The Centre has dealt with all these challenges by systematically providing their staff with capacity building trainings in SHG formations. Following a training at Raebareli, CEQUIN's SHG mobiliser Bushra Qmar remarked, "it was inspirational to see how the SHG women have managed to acquire small pieces of land, and created livelihoods for themselves. If they can be successful in Uttar Pradesh, why not in Delhi? I have come back with several new ideas for our groups."

The capacity building of staff has borne results. The centre has succeeded in setting up 5 Self Help Groups with the help of its outreach workers. They have been proudly named by the community as Pragati, Bismillah, Vikas, Adarsh and Sakshi. 4 more groups have also been formed and are in its early stages.

JAMIA NAGAR,HISTORIC ROOTS:

Prior to independence, there were three village in the Jamia Nagar area, namely Taimoor Nagar inhabited by the Gujjar community, Joga Bai inhabited by the Yadav community (previously called Jodha Bai) and Okhla Gaon which had a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims. Most of the inhabitants were farmers. Today, most of the population in Jamia Nagar area are migrants from U.P. and Bihar and belong primarily to the Muslim community.

The ethos of this place has been moulded by the omnipresence of the Jamia University. Jamia Millia Islamia was originally established at Aligarh in 1920. In Urdu language, Jamia means 'University', and Millia means 'National'. The trio - Hakim Ajmal Khan, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari and Abdul Majeed Khwaja-supported by Gandhiji shifted Jamia from Aligarh to Karol Bagh, in New Delhi in 1925. Gandhiji boosted the morale of Jamia, saying, "The Jamia has to run. If you are worried about its finances, I will go about with a begging bowl". Jamia followed Gandhiji's constructive programme for self-reliance while it took to Charkhaand Takli as favoured vocations.

On 1 March 1935, the foundation stone for a school building was laid at Okhla, then a non-descript village in the southern outskirts of Delhi. In 1946, during Jamia's silver jubilee celebration, one could see the crisis that India had to face in the following year: Mr. and Mrs. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and Liyaqat Ali Khan were on one side of Dr. Zakir Husain, the vice chancellor, on the dias; Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Asaf Ali and Sir C Rajagolapachari were on the other side.The riots following partition that shook the northern India did affect Jamia; but not its campus. Gandhi observed that its campus remained "an oasis of peace in the Sahara" of communal violence.

Today the Muslim community in this area is rather ghettoised and isolated from the larger opportunities that the capital offers. This is particularly true of the women who have barely ever stepped out of this area. There is very little interaction that the rest of Delhi has as well, with this area. The Centre caters to women and girls from in and around the area comprising congested clusters of poor and predominantly Muslim households.

http://www.indiaprwire.com/pressrelease/education/2011030980080.htm

India Press Release

March 9, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Youth Action Net Global Fellowship Program - Deadline tomorrow March 11!

Launched in 2001 by the International Youth Foundation, YouthActionNet strengthens, supports, and celebrates the role of young people in leading positive change in their communities. Each year, 20 exceptional young social entrepreneurs are selected as YouthActionNet Global Fellows following a competitive application process. The year-long Fellowship program includes:

Skill-building:
• A seven-day leadership retreat for twenty selected Fellows which offers dynamic peer-to-peer learning, collaboration, and sharing among young visionaries
• Focus on the personal growth and leadership abilities of Fellows, in addition to providing instruction in specific skills required to manage innovative, world-changing organizations
• Year-round learning opportunities based on Fellows' individual needs and the six dimensions of leadership highlighted in the YouthActionNet® Global Curriculum: Personal, Visionary, Political, Collaborative, Organizational, and Societal.

Networking and Resources:
• Networking with international and national aid agencies, NGOs, and corporate partners
• Access to potential resources to support Fellows and their projects, including volunteers, mentors, and grant opportunities
• Peer-to-peer networking throughout the year

Advocacy:
• Training in areas such as communications planning, media outreach, message development, presentation skills, and innovative uses of new media technologies
• Access to global advocacy platforms and media coverage

Eligibility

  • Open to all young people aged 18-29 (as of October 1, 2011)
  • Applicants should be founders of existing projects/organizations, or leading a project within an organization.
  • Proficiency in English is required; applications must be submitted in English
  • Must be available to attend full retreat (all expenses paid) at the beginning of October 2011.

Key Dates

The deadline for 2011 applications is March 11, 2011.
Selected semi-finalists will be notified by April 30, 2011.
The 2011 retreat will take place during the first two weeks of October 2011.

The 2011 Application is now open! Click here to get started.

Bhoomika Kalam nominates Sarpanch Krishnabai from MP citing her amazing accomplishments in village development!





दबंगो पर भारी कृष्णाबाई

- सूखा करार में विकास की हरियाली
- बेड़ीया समाज की बेटी ने उठाया पंचायत के विकास का बीड़ा
- तोड़ दी परंपराओं की बेड़ीयां
भूमिका कलम, भोपाल
सूखा करार ( जिला रायसेन) में आजादी के 63 साल से विकास का जो सूखा पड़ा था उस पर बेड़ीया समाज की बेटी ने हरियाली बिछाने का बीड़ा उठाया है। दबंगो को मात देकर सरपंच बनी कृष्णाबाई ने यहां न सिर्फ महिला विरोधी परंपराओं की बेड़ी तोड़ी बल्कि जागरूकता की अलख भी जगा दी। राई नृत्य और पांरपरिक वेश्यावृत्ति वाले इस गांव की लड़कियां अब शादी कर आत्मसम्मान के साथ जीवन गुजार रही हैं।
कृष्णाबाई की सफलता की कहानी यहीं नहीं थमीं, बल्कि गांव की सरकार की कमान अपने हाथ में लेने के बाद से अब तक वह पंचायत में आने वाले पांच गांवों के लिए दस लाख से अधिक के काम मंजूर कराकर उन्होंने सैकड़ों लोगों के लिए रोजगार जुटाया। समान्य सीट से सरपंच चुनाव के लिए जब कृष्णाबाई खड़ी हुईं तो उनके विरोधी कोई छोटे लोग नहीं थे। रामू महाराज, शंभु गुरूजी, हरीकिशन ठाकुर, भगवान सिंह ठाकुर जैसे गांव के जाने माने प्रतिष्ठितों से मुकाबला था कृष्णा का। कृष्णा कहती हैं यह मेरी नहीं गांव की महिलाओं की जीत हैं जिन्होंने मुझ पर जाति और पंरपराओं से हटकर विश्वास जताया है और आज भी महिलाओं के साथ मिलकर ही विकास की इबारत को अंजाम दे पा रही हूं।
दृष्टि ही बदल गई
सूखा करार की सकुन बाई कहती हैं की मैं अपने आंसू रोक ही नहीं पाती थी जब पांरपरिक वेश्यावृत्ति के कारण इस गांव के लोगों को अन्य गांव के लोग घृणा की नजरों से देखते थे। कृष्णा बाई ने चुनाव लड़ने से पहले ही जागरूकता के काम शुरू कर दिए थे और उसके तहत ही 25 जोड़ों की शादी कराई गई थी। अब अन्य गांव के लोगों की दृष्टि हमारे प्रति बदली है।
उद्देश्य है ...सम्मानजनक जीवन
कृष्णाबाई के अनुसार सरपंच और महिला होने के नाते न सिर्फ बेड़ीया समुदाय की महिलाओं बल्कि सभी के लिए सम्मान का जीवन उनका उद्देश्य हैं। इसके लिए आवश्यक रोजगार और विकास के लगातार कामों के लिए वे संर्घष करती रहेंगी।
आठ महिनों में विकास की इबारत
- उचेर और करार गांव के लिए आंगनवाड़ी कक्ष तैयार एक लाख रुपए का काम।
- सीसी रोड़ के लिए अनोरी में 3.5 लाख और करार एक लाख की मंजूरी के बाद काम शुरू।
- सूखा करार में 2.5 लाख की नल जल योजना का काम जारी।
- बेड़ीया समाज की 6 लड़कियों की शादी।

Rosalinda Sanquiche nominates Hazel Henderson for WAVE's Virtual Hall of Fame



In the picture, Hazel is the second from left and Rosalinda is next to her on the right.

Thank you for this opportunity to nominate Hazel Henderson for your virtual Hall of Fame.

In graduate school, I read articles by Hazel Henderson representing "the other side" of environmental economics. When I was helping a colleague teach a class, Hazel was a featured speaker - in my own town, living 2 miles from me! I introduced myself, saying, "I'll do anything: research, consult, even volunteer. Just let me work with you." That started a 4 year journey where I've learned how to learn. When Hazel wants to know something, really know it, she opens a dialogue with the best person she can find in the field. She did this 30 years ago, and she does it today. She introduces like minded individuals who can benefit each other. She reminds me and those younger than me that all our brilliant ideas are based on a foundation she and her friends built for us, deepening our connection to knowledge and establishing connections that cross generations and disciplines. She did it with me, and I see her doing it all the time - take a bright mind, show her the groundwork that's been laid, generously introduce her to the many other players in the game, listen to her ideas, encourage her creativity, set her free to achieve. I use me as an example - I write, I do public speaking, I research, I work for the good of humanity in my niche which expands every day because Hazel applies no boundaries to the many systems she plays in, encouraging us to play along, knowing in the end we're learning how to be better, stronger, more giving global citizens.

Hazel Henderson, D.Sc.Hon., FRSA, has written nine books. The Power of Yin is most appropriate for this group. She also wrote the Axiom and Nautilus best business award winning book Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy. Founder of Ethical Markets Media, she is a futurist and evolutionary economist with editorials syndicated by InterPress Service and articles appear in journals worldwide. She leads the Transforming Finance initiative, created the Green Transition Scoreboard®, tracking global private sector investment in green tech, and developed with Calvert Group the widely used alternative to GNP, the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators. Hazel has been a university lecturer, holds several honorary degrees and is an Honorary Member of the Club of Rome. She shared the 1996 Global Citizen Award with Nobelist A. Perez Esquivel of Argentina. In 2007, she was elected a Fellow to Britain’s Royal Society of Arts, founded in 1754. In 2010 she was honored as one of the "Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior 2010" by Trust Across America.

You can learn more about her and get pictures at www.hazelhenderson.com. She is the best possible role model for women seeking examples of strength, courage, perseverance and indefatigable belief in the best humanity has to offer.

Thank you,
Rosalinda

Rosalinda Sanquiche, Executive Director, Ethical Markets Media
office@ethicalmarkets.com / www.EthicalMarkets.com
PO Box 5190, St. Augustine, FL 32085 / 904-829-3140

WAVE volunteer Peeyush Sharma nominates Sapna Shahani for the Virtual Hall of Fame. Sapna is truly touched by these kind words...

The first time that I met her was in a train, she was all into encyclopedia, maps, and yellow pages.

Generally we don’t come across girls with maps, atleast I dont. But she had a map and looked as a great visionary. It was later that I came to know that she wants her life to stand for a cause and anything that brings awareness and a positive change in the society we all live in.

Her summary some where on the Internet says that, “I would like to meet people that facilitate entrepreneurship of innovative businesses in India. I would also like to contribute my varied skills to creative projects, ideally with an important message.”

Truly. She walks her talk. The idea of “ideally with an important message” that too in Indian Backdrop has resulted in the NGO she has founded.

With her creativity, determination, hardships, managing capabilities and fiercely focused approach she has managed the Impossible to speak itself that – I M Possible. Yet she is too down to Earth with not even a single minute trace of arrogance.

She’s Sapna Shahani. Director at WAVE – Women’s Aloud Videoblogging for Empowerment.

The project WAVE that she came up with, which shows hundreds of people who gives us hundreds of reason to inspire. But sometimes I wonder what inspires her? I guess these reason to inspire others.

Happy International Women’s Day Multiply by 100.

I didn't had any photos or video of her.

Peeyush Sharma

Nina Pirtskhalava nominates Journalist Irma Inashvili from Georgia!


It gaves us great pride to host nominees from as far away from India as Georgia. This was emailed in to WAVE today:



With great honor I can present one of the Georgian Woman, the best journalist, my best friend Irma Inashvili (born 06.07.1970) - The head and founder of the Union, Human Rights Defender, Since December 2010 – Media Ombudsman of Resistance Movement. She is really bright person in our, Georgian local history because all of her bests are focused on Social Justice, Democracy and free media. If media are a mirror of society as they should be, they certainly need to reflect better the fact that gender equality is a fundamental human right. Whole of her work experience is the argument of fighting for making the world a better place for our daughters, as well as our sons, grandsons, and ourselves.

In her 22, when was Georgian – Abkhazian War, she was One journalist woman, who was prepared the materials from front line and after walked with bitten soldiers and refugees trough the high mountains. She has daughter (10 years) and the son (9 years).

With the initiative of Objective and its partner French journalism organization Journalists for Journalists, documentary films were screened in Brussels (Crown Plaza hotel , May 25-26, 2010. It was the first show in Europe) and photos of raid of peaceful protestors were exhibited. In addition, “Zone of deprived rights”(in English), a handbook published by "Historical Heritage", a non-governmental organization, was also presented. The collection combines the facts of human rights abuse and conclusions by human rights non-governmental organizations, as well as abstracts from Ombudsman’s reports. Special English edition of newspaper "Georgia and World", which tells about robbery and raid of offices of the publishing house and "Historical Heritage" soon after the release and presentation of the “Zone of deprived rights” was also presented.

She is an author of the documentary films : “In a city the murderer”, “Dead end” .

At March 1 , 2010 Irma Inashvili met with the Heidi Hautala, the chair of the committee on Human Rights of the European Parliament .

The information on Media Union OBIEKTIVI (founded 2003)

1. Media union "OBIEKTIVI " includes work of Internet-TV, radio (on own frequency FM 105.0), newspapers and news agency. www.obiektivi.net

2. More than 60 representatives of NGOs and the youth organizations are Leading TV - and radio programs.

3. The base of Media union "OBIEKTIVI " is a place of training for newcomers in journalism.

4. For each representatives of a society, irrespective of vision and the social status, "OBIEKTIVI" gives possibility for open expression of their positions.

5. Organized by "OBIEKTIVI " «street TV» is really street TV, the chosen transfer, for a week on I–Net TV is shown for passers-by.

6. web page - www.obiektivi.net - represents archive of telecasts, newspapers and street TV, also the video-material which has been finished shooting during visits to Brussels and to Strasbourg.

7. In regions of Georgia the newspaper " OBIEKTIVI" distributed free.

8. The 25 the channel in Batumi broadcasts " OBIEKTIVI " TV programs.

irmairma7778 skype

Irma Inashvili – on facebook

with best wishes Nina Pirtskhalava , Founder of Georgian Association of University Women

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tanvir Kaur's nomination for WAVE's Virtual Hall of Fame: Amelia Earhart

Bhoomika Kalam nominates tractor-driving Komal Gulab from MP for WAVE's Virtual Hall of Fame



वो जीत रही खेतों की जंग...
भूमिका कलम. भोपाल
नाम फुल सा कोमल गुलाब (बाई) और मेहनत इतनी कठोर की पुरूष भी शरमा जाए। अपने कर ( हाथ) और काम पर गजब का भरोसा। इतना भरोसा और मेहनत कि तसवीर और तकदीर दोनों बदल डाली। पहले से दोगुना ज्यादा लहलहाती फसलों के बीच अपनी सफलता पर खिलखिलाती गुलाब बाई।
मप्र के आदिवासी अंचल में बसे धार जिले के नालछा ब्लाक के छोटे से गांव आली में पली-बढ़ी गुलाब बाई जाट उन महिलाओं के लिए आर्दश हैं, जो जिद करो दुनिया बदलो की मेढ़ पर बिना थके बिना झुके चलने में विश्वास रखती हैं। गुलाब बाई ने कुछ करने की लगन और मेहनत के बलबूते खेती को न सिर्फ फायदे का सौदा बनाया बल्कि ग्रामीण इलाके में मिसाल बना दी।
अपने माता-पिता की इकलौती संतान गुलाब बाई गांव में "ट्रैक्टर वाली बाई" के नाम से जानी जाती है। गुलाब के इस काम को लोगों ने पहली बार शौकिया माना लेकिन जब वे ट्रैक्टर से अपने 65 बीघा खेत सहित अन्य किसानों के खेत जोतने पहुंची तो पुरूषों ने भी उनकी मेहनत के सामने हार मान लीं।
58 गांवों का प्रतिनिधित्व
कृषी को प्रयोगों के बलबूते नया आयाम देने वाली गुलाब खेती-किसानी के प्रति अपनी समझ और विशेष पहचान के कारण जिला कृषि उपज मंडी में संचालक के पद पर हैं। वे 58 गांवों का प्रतिनिधित्व भी कर रही हैं और एक कृषि उद्यमी के रूप में उन्होंने यह साबित किया है कि इस क्षेत्र में भी महिलाएं सफल हो सकती हैं।
48 साल की गुलाब किशोर उम्र से ही गांवों में साइकिल से दूध बेचने जाती थी। शादी के बाद काम छूट गया लेकिन 1985 में पिता के गंभीर बीमार रहने के कारण वे मायके आ गईं और खेती का काम संभाला।
संर्घष जीवन है...
संर्घष जीवन है लड़ना तो पड़ेगा... जो लड़ नहीं सकेगा आगे नहीं बढ़ेगा... की तर्ज पर अपने जीवन की कहानी सुनाते हुए गुलाब बताती हैं कि "आसान नहीं था पुरूषों के प्रतिनिधित्व वाले क्षेत्र में अपने को साबित करना। मेरे मोटर साइकल और ट्रैक्टर चलाने पर कई तरह की बांते हुईं। मैंने तय कर लिया था, कि किसी भी कीमत पर खेती में न सिर्फ सफल होना है बल्कि दूसरों से अलग काम करना है।"
एक साल जुताई में आई दिक्कतों का जिक्र करते हुए उन्होंने कहा जिनके पास ट्रैक्टर था उन्होंने जुताई समय पर नहीं की और हमारे खेतों के उत्पादन में कमी आई। इसके बाद ही मैंने टैÑक्टर सीखा और अगले वर्ष से अपने खेतों की जुताई खुद की। माता पिता जब खेती करते थे तो एक बीघा में पांच से सात क्वींटल अनाज पैदा होता था लेकिन अब नई तकनीकी के साथ यह उत्पादन 15 से 20 क्वींटल प्रति बीघा है।
गुलाब लागत हटाकर खेती से 3 से 4 लाख वार्षिक आय अर्जित कर लेती हैं। उनके यहां 6 दूधारू भैंसे भी हैं। उन्होंने उत्पादन बढ़ाने के लिए खेतों ट्यूबवेल लगवाया, बिजली के लिए ट्रांसफार्मर लगवाया।
दूसरों का उर्जा स्त्रोत
गुलाब ने बताया कि पहले तो लोग मुझे उपहास भरी नजरों से देखते थे, लेकिन मेरी सफलताओं के कारण अब तीन किलोमीटर दूर के गांव की एक और महिला ट्रैक्टर चलाना सीखकर खेतों में जुताई का काम कर रही है। मेरी बेटी भी ट्रैक्टर चलाकर खेती में मेरा साथ देती है। यह एक ऐसा क्षेत्र है, जिसमें महिलाएं अच्छा काम कर सकती है. सरकार को भी इस तरह के चुनौतीपूर्ण क्षेत्रों में महिलाओं को आगे बढ़ाने के प्रयास करने चाहिए।

Second entry: Educator Anarben Patel inspires Jyotsna from Gujarat




नमस्ते!
सबकी जिन्दगी में एक महिला तो होती है जो हमें प्रेणना देती है और वो महिला हमारी "माँ " होती है.
मेने अपनी माँ को खूब स्वमान से जीते हुए देखा है और उन ही से मुझे जिन्दगी में स्वमान से जीने की और पग्भर होने की प्रेरणा मिली है.
माँ के आलावा एक ऐसी महिला से में हमेसा से ही प्रेरणा पाती रहेती हु,उनका नाम है श्री अनारबहेन पटेल.
इनसे हमेसा ही कुछ ना कुछ नया सिखने को मिलता रहेता है,इनसे मेने प्रेरणा ली है की जो अच्छी चीजे हमने समाज से पायी है वो हम समाज को कैसे वापिस कर सकते है.


श्री अनार्दिदी गुजरात के पूर्व शिक्षण मंत्री और अभी महेसुल मंत्री श्री आनंदीजी की बेटी है.वो अभी "ग्रामश्री" नामका उद्योग सेंटर और मानव साधना संस्था के माध्यम से महिलाओ और बच्चो के साथ सेवा करती है.

हम सब जानते है की देश का भविष्य बच्चे है पर जब घर में ठीक से कमाई ही नहीं होगी तो वो बच्चे खायेंगे क्या और पढेंगे क्या?
महिलाए खासकर ज़ोपडपट्टी में रहेने वाली जो महिलाये है उनके बच्चो को अच्छी पढाई मिल ही नहीं पाती है क्यूंकि वो बहोत रित रिवाजो के नाम पर उन महिलाओं को ज्यादा पढे नहीं जाता है इसीलिए वो मजदूरी करके घर का खर्च उठाने में मदद करती पर उनमे उनका अपना स्वमान और इच्छाये मर जाती है .
रामापिर का टकरा जो अहमदाबाद का सबसे बड़ा slum है वहा पर श्री अनार्दिदी सेवा का काम करती है.
श्री अनार्दिदी का सोचना है जब तक महिलाये अपने पैरो पर खड़ी नहीं होंगी उनके घर का उद्दार नहीं हो सकता इसीलिए वो महिलाओ को भरत गुंथन का काम देकर पग्भर बनाने के साथ साथ आत्मविश्वासी और स्वावलंबी भी बना रहे है और मानव साधना बच्चो को value based education देती है.

वो हमेसा ही लडकियों को पढने के लिए प्रोत्साहित करती है और पढने में मदद भी करती है.

मेने उनसे शिखा है की अपने आपको कभी भी किसी से निचा मत समजो.
अपनी जिन्दगी में जो भी परिस्थिति आये उसकी जिम्मेदारी खुद लो.दुसरो पर मत डालो.
हमेशा खुद को up date करते रहो.नया नया कुछ शिखते रहो.
अपना खुदका कोई शोख पालो और उसमे अपने आपको माहिर बनाओ.
अपनी जिन्द्के खर्चे को खुद कमाकर पूरा करो.
किसी से भी मत डरो.
अपनी काबेलियत पर भरोसा करो.
मेरे लिए मेरी जिन्दगी में मेरी माँ के बाद श्री अनार्दिदी ही वो महिला है जो मुझे हमेशा " inspire " करती है.
आप वेब साईट पर से ज्यादा जानकारी पा सकते हो.
www.gramshree.org
www.manavsadhna.org

ज्योत्स्ना.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Look forward to more Virtual Hall of Fame entries - here's an article to motivate you!


Dreamers & Fighters
March 6th, 2011
Suchita Vemuri

It has been a century of struggle. A century of fighting for their rights; to be given their due in society and to be treated at par with men. And while today’s woman has come a long way since 1916, when Regina Guha was refused to be registered by the Calcutta High Court as a pleader (as lawyers were called then), she only has her ilk to thank for it.
The very fact that we are still dedicating reams of newsprint to the “emancipation” of women bears testimony to the fact that a lot more needs to be done. This does not, however, take anything away from the decades of strife women have undergone in India and abroad to improve her standing in society.
On March 8 we will be celebrating 100 years of the International Women’s Day and to try and list all the remarkable achievements of women in the past century would be futile. But try we must, if not for anything else but to convey the fact that for every act of defiance that we know about, there are hundreds of such instances that we are not aware of.
In the years between the first woman Congress president, Sarojini Naidu, and the latest incumbent, Sonia Gandhi, women have organised and led movements for political rights, a safe environment, education and livelihood. They have brought nationwide attention to injustices and proposed solutions for the same.
While women were fighting for their rights from much earlier, the example of religious and communal integration set by Aruna Asaf Ali, the heroine of the 1942 Quit India Movement stands out. Aruna was a Bengali Brahmo girl who, against centuries of social mores, married a Muslim gentleman from Delhi.
Decades later, in India’s quest for communal harmony, Teesta Setalvad from Mumbai would play a critical role, undertaking a well-orchestrated legal campaign to right injustices against minority communities.
Setalvad’s example proves that women are running neck-to-neck, if not forging ahead, of men in important worldly matters too. As leaders, women are better negotiators and peace makers; they bring about broader social legislation that benefits people across the spectrum. And when it comes to staying power in fighting for what’s right, women easily outlast men.
Take the case of Irom Sharmila. For the last 10 years, Sharmila has been on a hunger strike. It is a world record only because she has been force-fed by the authorities, who look on her as a criminal for attempting suicide. Her demand — repeal of the barbaric Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) — has been ignored in spite of nationwide protests. The AFSPA, a colonial legacy that suspends citizens’ democratic rights, allows the Army to kill and torture citizens without any repercussions.
Sharmila, a 28-year-old poet and human rights worker, started her fast-unto-death after Assam Rifles troops shot dead 10 civilians waiting at a bus stop in Manipur on 2 November 2000. But as she is force-fed in captivity, the AFSPA continues unabated in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.
On a different spectrum, we have Amrita Shergil who not only established women as serious artists on the Indian art scene, but also brought women’s sexuality out of the closet. Thanks to her and others like her, today, women in India openly declare and campaign for lesbian rights and writers like Shobhaa De are celebrated for their sexual frankness and not relegated as smut.
Mathurabai of Gaintoli Village in Madhya Pradesh, India’s first woman sarpanch, significantly took forward the tradition set by Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Sucheta Kripalani, India’s first woman minister in the Union Cabinet and woman chief minister, respectively. Today, women constitute a third to half the decision-makers at the village level and if all goes well, they will soon get reservation in Parliament too.
And then we have Medha Patkar who was one of the first social activists in India to focus attention on the plight of those displaced by mega infrastructure projects.
Similarly, environmentalist Sunita Narain and geneticist Suman Sahay have focused attention on issues of sustainable development, addressing a range of concerns, from polluted water bodies to genetically modified foods, and have proposed solutions that have positively influenced policy.
Author and activist Arundhati Roy perhaps puts it best when she talks of women’s standing in society 40 years ago: “I was the worst thing a girl could be: thin, black, and clever.” A far cry from today’s ad world and the fashion scenario where tall, dark and skinny models rule the roost.
And when we look at the corporate world, it is evident that the proverbial glass ceiling has finally been shattered.
Heads of global organizations like Indra Nooyi, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chanda Kochchar and Naina Lal Kidwai have made it to the top in a traditionally male-dominated corporate world through sheer grit, intelligence and determination.
The fight of Sabrina Lal for justice for her sister Jessica — the Delhi model murdered on a whim by Manu Sharma in 1999 — is now immortalised on celluloid. While Neelam Katara’s struggle for justice for her son Nitish, murdered by the son and nephew of a UP politician in 2002, continues. The political influence of these murderers made it a hugely unfair fight, but these women would not give up.
If it is near impossible for these upper-crust Delhi ladies, we can only imagine what the fight for justice would have been like for a widowed peasant woman in Kaithal, Haryana. But Chanderpati, mother of Manoj, who was killed along with his bride, Babli, in 2007, fights on for justice. Manoj and Babli were murdered by a blood-thirsty khap panchayat while under police protection.
Chanderpati and her daughter, Rekha, live in isolation now, boycotted by the village that opposes their struggle for legal justice. Their farmland lies in waste, but their hope is unflagging. And the Sessions court’s sentencing five of the accused to death last year makes the struggle worthwhile.
While the girl child still takes second place to her brothers in access to education and healthcare, across India’s most backward states, a significant number of parents are asking for education certificates from prospective grooms as well as brides while arranging marriages.
Child marriages continue but the average age for the child bride has moved from nine to 16 in just six decades. And people like Ela Bhatt of the Ahmedabad-based Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) have quietly and steadily helped women to improve their livelihood and their economic and social status.
Fighting against all odds, women like them around the world show the real power of human will and determination. From Rosa Parks refusing to budge from her seat in the US that sparked the civil rights movement to the magic of Mother Jones in organising mine workers, the American dream was largely shaped by women.
Given half a chance, women have led the fight for dignity and freedom, from our Rani Lakshmi Bai to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi; and in caring for people and the environment, like the tireless medical work of Dr Hawa Abdi Dhiblawe in violence-torn Somalia to Medha Patkar. Women have demonstrated the power to change, from activists like Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay to Shirin Ebadi, from feminists like Simone de Beauvoir, Gloria Steinem, Germaine Greer and Kamala Das right to the fun-loving folk of the Consortium of Pub-Going, Loose and Forward Women, who cheekily send pink chaddies to nasty, sexist Indian men.

First Blogathon entry for Virtual Hall of Fame - community worker Gyani Devi from HP!


WAVE videoblogger Vandana sent in this entry:

On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, I would like to nominate Gyani Devi, a 75 year old a woman living in a small village in Kangra in Himachal Pradesh for WAVE's virtual hall of fame.

When I walk around in the villages here, I see so many women-young and old, toiling hard to run their families. They wake up at the crack of dawn to work in their farms, graze their cattle, clean their houses, fetch water from miles, cook for the entire family and prepare their children for school. They work endlessly till night. They are the last ones to eat.Very few of them have a say in family matters. They have several restrictions imposed on them by the men in the family and society. When I saw Gyani Devi, I was truly amazed. Gyani Devi looks like any other grandmother in the village except the fact that she doesnt stoop when she stands or walks. Gyani has never been to school but she has been to police stations, panchayat offices and government offices. At an age when old women generally confine themselves to their prayer beads and sit in their courtyards, she helps victims of domestic violence file their cases with the local police, accompaines them to court hearings and brings back their dowry in huge trucks.She stands with pride and her eyes always have a mischievous glint. She is a firebrand woman who has worked tirelessly to help other women and fellow villagers during many crises.In the past, she has been elected as a panchayat member because of her dedication to serve her community,

The best part about Gyani is that she likes to enjoy life and laugh. She always has a song on her lips and she loves to entertain other women. She dances at functions and lives her life to the fullest. She is one of the most inspirational women I have met in rural India who has proved that you dont necessarily need a supportive family, a decent education and money to be empowered. What you really need is a spark which can only be found within you!

Friday, March 4, 2011

WAVE Blog-a-thon in honour of the 100th International Women's Day this March 8!

This International Women's Day, send in a blog and win cash prizes!

March 8, 2011 is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. To honour this special occasion, nominate a woman for our virtual hall of fame!

Tell us who inspires you and why? She can be Indian or from any other part of the world, living or dead, but she must be someone who would be considered a role-model.

Answer any of these by writing a line or more, sending a picture you took or a video blog of you speaking on camera. Email your entry on March 8 to womenaloud@gmail.com
The most original/ thoughtful entries will win and their names will be mentioned on the WAVE website, blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, besides winning cash prizes.

All the best!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tata Institute of Social Studies CMCS fellowship for early career filmmakers - apply by March 31!

CMCS Fellowship for Early Career Film Makers
http://cmcsecf.wordpress.com/

The Centre for Media and Cultural Studies (www.cmcs.tiss.edu), Tata
Institute of Social Sciences announces a fellowship for film-makers at
an early stage of their career. The fellowship is designed to provide
the resources and environment for films that are innovative, relevant
and contribute to the growing body of documentary and short film work
in India.

The fellowship consists of:

* A stipend of Rs. 15,000 per month for a maximum period of
five months.
* The provision of in-house HDV equipment including camera and
editing facilities, if the work is to be carried out in Mumbai.
* Reimbursement of actual of production expenses on the basis of
a pre-approved budget. These expenses are expected to be in the
region of Rs. 1.5 to 1.75 lakhs, depending on the logistics of the
specific project.

In order to be considered for the fellowship applicants are required to
provide:

* A detailed curriculum vitae
* Up to two non-returnable samples of work on DVD/VCD.
* An essay outlining the film proposal in not more than 2000
words. This essay should include: a working title for the film,
language, the central theme of the film, approach to the content and
narrative style, possible visual segments.
* A production schedule with a detailed time frame for: research
and script, cinematography, editing to rough cut, editing to final
cut, submission of all material.
* A budget for other production expenses (e.g. travel, field
expenses, payments to other professionals etc.). Please note that the
fellowship does not support any infrastructural costs such as setting
up of an office, buying of equipment, or per diem costs.
* Names and contact details of two referees, preferably from the
field of media, whom we will contact for a reference if needed.

The fellowship is open to all Indian nationals. An early career
filmmaker is defined as someone who has completed her/his media
education not more than 5 years ago. In case of applicants without a
media degree, they should have made not more than 5 documentary or short
films already.
Up to two fellowships are available based on the quality of applications.
Short-listed candidates may have to come for an interview in April
2011. Travel will be reimbursed at the rates of three tier non-AC
train fare against valid tickets.
All proposals must be submitted as hard copies and signed by the film
maker to:

Centre for Media and Cultural Studies
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Bombay 400 088, India
Phone:+91 22 2552 5661

For any queries please contact: cmcs.fellowships@gmail.com

Last date for receipt of applications is March 31, 2011.

LiveMint: A budget friendly to women?

Malia Politzer

MaliMaliolita Politzer

A closer look at the ‘gender budget’ shows such allocations have remained at around 6% of the total budget outlay for the four years ending 31 March 2012

New Delhi: Budget 2011 included changes to several programmes that will disproportionately benefit women, although funding earmarked specifically for women’s programmes as a percentage of the total budget outlay remained unchanged for four years.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee announced the creation of a women’s self-help group development fund with a corpus of Rs. 500 crore in fiscal 2011-12 “to empower women and promote their self-help groups”. Mukherjee also doubled remuneration for workers and helpers at anganwadis, or government-run creches, to Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 1,500 a month, respectively. The increase will benefit an estimated 2.2 million people, mostly women. Allocation for the women and child development ministry increased 15% fromRs. 11,075 crore to Rs. 12,733 crore.

Such changes, however, do not necessarily represent a shift towards a more gender-friendly budget. A closer look at the “gender budget”, a statement within the expenditure budget tracking provisions earmarked for programmes that primarily benefit women, shows that such allocations have remained at approximately 6% of the total budget outlay for the four years ending 31 March 2012. “It almost looks like a non-starter when you look at the way money has been spread across departments,” said Dr Ranjana Kumari, director of the Center for Social Research. “I think that gender budgeting needs to be taken up more sincerely by all departments.”

The government first introduced the concept of “gender budgeting” in budget for the year 2005-2006, acknowledging a persistent gender disparity. Women, who represent about half the nation’s population, lag behind men with regards to access to education, health care and other development indicators. About 96% of working women are engaged in the informal sector. The “Gender Budget” statement was intended to be a tool to more effectively address such inequalities, by showing, for the first time, how much various ministries and departments were spending on programmes aimed at addressing the development needs of women. According to the original road map for gender budgeting, such expenditures were to be reviewed, analysed, and adjusted in order to maximize overall effectiveness.

“Gender budget statement is very important,” said Yamini Mishra, a gender responsive budget specialist with UN Women. “Before the gender budget statement was produced, there was no way to answer very basic questions of how much the government of India is spending on women.”

For the 2010-2011 fiscal year, total expenditure listed under the gender budget was Rs. 78,251 crore, of which Rs. 20,549.4 crore was earmarked for programmes that exclusively benefit women and Rs. 57,702.7 crore for programmes in which women were at least 30% of the beneficiaries. That translates to nearly Rs. 1,200 per woman a year.

Some programmes in which women are the sole beneficiaries—such asSwadhar which provides aid to women in difficult circumstances; Swayam Siddha which aims to empower women; and a scheme to provide hostels for working women—have registered a decline in allocation compared with fiscal 2010-11.

The proposed expenditure allocated towards Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, a programme that provides funding for women self-help groups, and a scheme for rehabilitation of rape victims, were marginally increased.

Kumari said the government should allocate more money for programmes that address women’s basic needs. “When you look at underdevelopment indicators, the main issues that hit you in the face are the health of women, the education of girl children and livelihood of women,” said Kumari. “The budget lacks sensitivity on all these issues.”

But Mishra said it’s important not to fixate on the gender budget statement when measuring the budget’s overall impact on women.

“It’s very important to go beyond the gender budget statement to make policies and schemes better funded and more responsive to women’s needs,” she said. “The revision of the angawadi workers is significant, but we should also complete the argument by saying that there are other things...that require attention if you really want to help women.”