Recent Resources for Feminists
Pakistan ~ Sunday April 28 2013
The gender gapBy Zaheer Mahmood Siddiqui
Zaheer Mahmood Siddiqui highlights how women’s role in agriculture remains largely ignored.
According to Women Agriculture and Rural Development: A Synthesis report of the Near East Region, FAO, Rome, [in Pakistan] “Women comprise 42pc of the total family labour.” Unfortunately this major contribution goes largely .
In addition to their usual domestic chores like cooking, managing the house, taking care of children, the elderly and disabled, fetching water and fuel, taking care of the cattle and poultry, they work along with their men in transplanting vegetables, rice and bare-root plants and harvesting wheat, rice, cotton and other crops. Tasks that require squatting for long periods, such as mowing of grass, removal of weeds and unwanted growth, inter-cultivation of vegetables and picking of small fruits, are almost exclusively carried out by women.
Unfortunately, no serious efforts have so far been made to collect credible data on the female labour force in rural areas of the country; their contribution is recognised neither socially nor economically. According to government figures, the female labour participation rate is 18pc, compared to 71pc for men. However, according to Human Development in South Asia 2010/2011: Food Security in South Asia by the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre, “there has been a considerable increase in the share of the female labour force in the total agricultural labour force in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The rate has almost tripled in Pakistan since 1980, to 30pc, and women now exceed 50pc of the total agricultural labour force in Bangladesh.
“Much of women’s work in the household, as subsistence farmers, unpaid agricultural workers or family helpers is not reflected in official statistics. In Pakistan, for instance, with the adoption of the United Nations definition of the system of national accounts boundary, women’s participation in the workforce has increased from 13 to 39pc and in Bangladesh from 19 to 50pc.
“In Punjab, Pakistan, it was found that women perform more than 13 major activities in the rural areas and spend more than nine hours a day working on these multiple tasks. Almost 25pc of their time is spent on livestock-related activities that are routinely classified as household chores. This role of women in agriculture and rural livelihoods has increased over the years as more men continue to migrate to urban areas and households are then headed by women. Even in households headed by men, women continue to contribute a significant portion of their time to agriculture-related activities. While traditionally agricultural activities were more gender-segregated, a shortage of agricultural labour has meant that women have even taken over tasks previously performed by men,” says the report.
However, veteran labour leader Khurshid Ahmed maintains that data on rural female labour force still does not depict reality.
“Contribution of rural women in conventional agriculture and economic activities had been substantial but it has always been underestimated and undervalued. More than 50pc of the labour force comprises women in our rural areas but their contributions remain largely overlooked and the value of their output has never been incorporated in national statistics. They are fed and provided with clothes etc, but not paid,” says Ahmed.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Treat abductors as terrorists
There is an uncanny feeling that since the laws have been made gender-sensitive, atrocities on women have grown manifold. The paradox of the ongoing discourse on women empowerment has become obvious even to the blind. The daring arrogance of the law-breakers now throws up a new challenge for the entire law-enforcing machinery. On the one hand, gender sensitive laws are framed and need to be implemented to help democracy take its true shape, on the other hand, young women are abducted in broad daylight from highways, are forced into marriages, raped and maimed, proving that molesters and rapists in this country care two hoots for the law. If this is not anarchy, what else would be?
The situation is not going to change unless some kind of semblance is achieved in women’s status in their public and private spheres. As long as women are not given their due within the four walls of their homes, their status in the public sphere will remain dependent on the law for their safety and security. That women are not only sex objects but have the equal right to share all other social, economic and political spaces need to be drilled in the minds of macho men, who want to enjoy the fruits of democracy along with eating the rotten fruit of patriarchy. The two cannot be digested together.
It calls for a change at deeper social and psychological levels in the way masculinity is perceived. It needs to come through a paradigm shift in the gender roles. As long as men will bloat in their ignorance-pumped arrogance of muscle power, and will harbour a conceited belief that a woman’s place can be shown by physically harming her by abduction, molestation or rape women will depend on law enforcers, who unfortunately come from the same stock. Till the men of this land undergo a change of mind, all the acts of abduction, molestation and rape should be treated like acts of terrorism against fellow citizens unsparingly.
Pakistan ~ Sunday April 14 2013
“Poverty has a woman’s face”Hilda Saeed writes about how Pakistani women’s lives are affected by their economic deprivation
Hajra, Khatija and Sakina: three friends and neighbours living in Karachi’s Lyari area. Hajra lives alone with her three daughters: her husband left her when the youngest child was merely six months old, because she couldn’t give birth to a son. Khatija’s husband is as good as absent: he’s a drug addict. Survival, with a little daughter and a son, is one terrifying day after another. She lives in dread that her son may adopt the same path as his father. Sakina is divorced, without support from her former husband. She continues working to support her children; they’re not yet at the age where they could start earning a living.
Hajra and her friends are just a few of the millions of Pakistani women whose lives are constrained by extreme poverty. Studies, and even just observation, frequently highlight women’s disproportionately high representation among the country’s poor. As Dr Mahbub ul Haq once put it, “Women have been reduced to economic nonentities.”
Globally, poverty remains a challenge: the World Bank estimates that 1.29 billion people live in absolute poverty; the sad fact is that about 70 per cent of them are women. In Pakistan, it is no different, but without a national census, it isn’t even possible to gauge the correct picture. Poverty is difficult to quantify: the methodology used by the government has been challenged by the World Bank and the UNDP, while independent organisations consider poverty to be above 28.3pc.
However, according to the Human Development Index, 2009, 60.3pc of Pakistan’s population lives on $2 per day. According to Unesco, 71pc of eligible girls did not attend secondary school in 2009. Gender discriminatory practices shape poverty: as expected, more women are at the suffering end. They suffer poverty of opportunities far more than men. Poverty gives rise to social powerlessness and political disenfranchisement, and these add to the vulnerability of the poor.
The reasons for such high poverty levels are several: corruption, illicit capital flight, debt and loan conditionalities, high defence expenditures, and now, extremism.
Those are the general ones.
To quote Tahira Abdullah, “Poverty has a woman’s face.” Women face the triple burden of child-bearing, child rearing, and domestic unpaid labour; they have been denied opportunities for growth, are without access to adequate healthcare, education or income, and simultaneously forced to live in the tight bind of culture and tradition.
Their poverty is multidimensional; not only of lack of income, but also of nutrition and health; they are denied education and the ability to earn an adequate income, their vulnerability prevents them from advancing their innate capabilities. To add to that, gender biases and patriarchal/misogynist mindsets permeate every aspect of their lives. Living with discrimination and gender-based violence is a daily reality for many.
Poverty levels in the country have crept upwards and are considered to be among the highest in South Asia. Unfortunately, the Planning Commission does not reveal the exact data on female poverty. Women bear the brunt of appallingly high socio-economic disparities; their poverty extends from the small and large denials within the home to the wider denials they experience in the community. Often they’re not even recognised as heads of households; their labour in the agricultural sector is largely unremunerated; they remain exploited, deprived of income.
The Economic Survey of Pakistan barely acknowledges their presence and their contribution the female labour force participation rate is the lowest in the South Asian region. A survey by Yasir Amin (in Economistan, April 12, 2012) noted that women’s contribution to the labour force had actually shrunk from 33pc in 2000 to 21pc in 2011.
The risks of increasing poverty grow in parallel with the number of women-headed households. Single mothers are at highest risk, as are their children, who are likely to be deprived of adequate schooling and nutrition. Like most women, they have no alternative to poorly paid, informal employment.
It is no surprise that women are over-represented among the country’s poor; discrimination against them exists at all levels, within the family, with its unequal gendered division of responsibilities and labour, inequality in access to healthcare, to schooling, to social protection. Tradition ordains that their mobility be restricted.
Unsurprisingly, few poor women have hope of escaping this poverty as there are so many odds stacked against them. Despite laws that favour them, even richer women are regularly denied land inheritance by emotional coercion, forced marriage and even by ‘marriage’ to the Quran.
The current political situation prevailing in the country presents a mixed picture for women’s progress and development. On the one hand, there are several forward-looking laws and amendments, widespread provision of safety nets like the Benazir Income Support Programme and increased school enrolment for girls. On the other hand is the snail’s pace at which the bureaucracy moves to implement those laws. Then again, there’s society’s stubbornly ‘eyes shut’ attitude to women’s rights and progress, the lack of recognition that women’s progress requires an acceptance of their constitutionally guaranteed equal status as citizens of this country.
If women are to progress and participate effectively in the economy, they must receive equal education, equal training, in rural and urban sectors and equal dignity and income. Pakistan cannot achieve progress on the efforts of less than half its population.
Pakistan ~ Sunday April 14 2013
The glass ceilingTo decide whether it is poverty that leads to ill-health or poor heath that exacerbates poverty is like trying to solve the puzzle of what came first: chicken or egg. Regardless of what comes first, the link between health and poverty is deep-rooted and it has been firmly established that one leads to, or exacerbates, the other.
While the health of both men and women is adversely affected by poverty, higher proportion of women are affected by its effects because of increased poverty among women or what is termed as ‘feminisation of poverty’. But one of the factors of increased poverty in women is the immense or unique health problems they have to live with.
According to the World Health Organisation while health is one of the fundamental rights of every individual, many women across the world are being denied this basic right, and in many cases their health issues arise due to or are aggravated by their socio-economic condition. In most developed countries women lag behind men on virtually every social and economic indicator, and hence constitute a larger proportion of the poor.
Faced with gender bias from birth, especially when it comes to allocation of resources, due to their lower social status women have fewer opportunities to access healthcare. Since traditions relegate women and girls to the background, in many families, especially where food is limited, the choicest portions are given to men and boys and women eat last, often surviving on leftovers; because of this they suffer from anaemia and chronic malnutrition, which increases their susceptibility to infection which further compromises their health. According to the National Nutrition Survey of Pakistan over 35 per cent women are nutrient deficient.
Despite an extensive Expanded Programme on Immunisation, and immunisation against polio and Hepatitis B, outreach to all parts of the country has not been fully achieved. Lack of immunisation leads to disability, leaving the person unable to work, thus pushing him further down the poverty ladder. It is rightly said that while disability is crippling, if a woman is disabled it is a lethal combination; a disabled woman is sure to miss out all chances of improving her life and is forced to lead a miserable life.
Another factor that contributes to women’s ill-health is early marriage; despite the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 early marriages account for 25-30pc of all marriages in the country. Due to this, fertility rates especially in rural areas and among the poor are still quite high. Only 30pc of women use contraceptives while there is a 30pc unmet need. Repeated pregnancies, too early and too late, take a toll on women’s health. When they don’t need more children but have no access to family planning services they resort to unsafe abortion, which is often detrimental to their health.
The case of S.A. can be taken as an example: S.A. got married at the age of 14 and within a period of 10 years had eight children. She didn’t want any more children because she could barely feed them working in three homes, but she was not aware of family planning and didn’t know where to go. While trying to get an abortion when she got pregnant again she almost lost her life. Unable to work for months she and her children survived on charity and neighbours’ kindness, who like S.A. were not financially strong.
To add to this women in our country often are either not aware of its importance or do not have access to proper maternal health facilities; this further impacts their health. The mortality rate in Pakistan is about 260 per 100,000 live births, and is nearly twice as high in rural areas than in urban areas. Poor maternal health due to repeated pregnancies also hinders women from pursuing productive pursuits, thus they remain poor.
Due to social and cultural practices men are considered breadwinners and women unpaid caregivers. As a result of women’s child rearing and caregiving responsibilities they are hardly able to pursue a career and do not have an income of their own. Since she has to rely on her husband she often ignores her health needs and suffers silently.
Even when a woman enters the waged labour market it is mostly low-paying work and of lower status. Themselves suffering from poor health and burdened with caregiving responsibilities, it might be difficult for them to access healthcare for themselves or their children as they might have mobility issues and also because they can’t frequently stay away from work as in that case they are faced with loss of job, which pushes them further into the clutches of poverty.
Whatever may be the cause of ill-health, women who are suffering from poor health are more vulnerable to slide down the poverty ladder. Not only they themselves but their children also suffer from the consequences of poor health and poverty. If women enjoy better health status they can not only take better care of their children and families and make better use of available resources. They will also be able to take up some means of employment to supplement the family income, thus bringing themselves and their family out of poverty and misery.
In a nutshell it can be concluded safely that women’s health is central to poverty alleviation. If we want to reduce poverty taking care of women’s health needs is imperative.
Edited by Padmini Swaminathan, Professor, Centre for Women’s Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
Price : Rs. 645.00
ISBN : 978-81-250-4777-3
Pages : 408
Binding : Paperback
Book Size : 158 x 240 mm
Year : 2012
Series : Readings on the Economy, Polity and Society
Territorial Rights : World
About the Book
The notion of ‘work and employment’ of ‘work and employment’ for women is complex. While economic factors predominantly determine a man’s participation in employment, the reasons why women work, or do not work, or whether they work part-time or full-time, can be diverse and are often rooted in a complex interplay of economic, cultural, social and personal factors.
In India, as in most other parts of the world, fewer women participate in employment compared to men. This is the backdrop against which Women and Work analyses a wide range of issuesfrom what counts for ‘work’ to the economic contribution of women to how gendering of work has many significant and related consequences.
The introduction talks of how oppression faced by wage-earning women is the result of patriarchal norms and capitalist relations of production. It also demonstrates how policies and programmes anchored around data based on national income accounts and/or labour force surveys seriously disadvantage women in more ways than one.
Divided into four sections, the articles focus on women engaged in varied workpaddy-growers in West Bengal, beedi-rollers in Tamil Nadu, laceworkers in Andhra Pradesh and bardancers in Maharashtraall of whom live and work in dismal conditions, and earn paltry incomes.
Bringing together well-known sociologists and economists, this volume will be useful for students and scholars of sociology, economics, political science and women’s studies.
List of Tables and Figures
Introduction Padmini Swaminathan
Section I: Conceptualising Work, Mapping Complexity
- 1. Women Craft Workers as Security for Family Subsistence
- Maithreyi Krishnaraj
- 2. Dynamics of Sexual Division of Labour and Capital Accumulation: Women Lace-Workers of Narsapur
- Maria Mies
- 3. Work Participation of Rural Women in the Third World: Some Data and Conceptual Biases
- Bina Agarwal
- 4. High Participation, Low Evaluation: Women and Work in Rural Haryana
- Prem Chowdhry
- 5. Tracing a Timeline for Work and Family Research in India
- Ujvala Rajadhyaksksha and Swati Smita
Section II: Imparting Visibility, Interrogating Data Systems
- 6. Muddy Feet, Dirty Hands: Rice Production and Female Agricultural Labour
- Joan P. Mencher and K. Saradamoni
- 7. Valuing Work: Time as a Measure
- Devaki Jain
- 8. Employment and Unemployment Situation in the 1990s: How Good is NSS Data?
- Indira Hirway
- 9. Girl Children in the Care Economy: Domestics in West Bengal
- Deepita Chakravarty and Ishita Chakravarty
Section III: Forms of Labour, Conditions of Work: Sectoral Perspectives
- 10. Women’s Paid Domestic Work and 243
- Rural Transformation: A Study in South Gujarat
- Uma Kothari
- 11. Resilience of Gender Inequities: Women and Employment in Chennai
- J. Jeyaranjan and Padmini Swaminathan
- 12. Disempowered despite Wage Work: Women Workers in Beedi Industry
- Meena Gopal
- 13. Development Process and the Status of Women: Tanning Industry in Tamil Nadu
- Millie Nihila
- 14. Feminist Contributions from the Margins: Shifting Conceptions of Work and Performance of the Bar Dancers of Mumbai
- Forum against Oppression of Women
Section IV: Critiquing Policies: Implications and Consequences for Work
- 15. Rural Energy Scarcity and Nutrition: A New Perspective
- Srilatha Bathiwala
- 16. Women’s Work is Never Done: Dairy ‘Development’ and Health in the Lives of Rural Women in Rajasthan
- Miriam Sharma with the assistance of Urmila Vanjani
- 17. Women and Pro-Poor Policies in Rural Tamil Nadu: An Examination of Practices and Responses
- J. Jeyaranjan
List of Authors
Volume 30 - Issue 07 :: April 06-19, 2013
Invisible labour By T.K. RAJALAKSHMI
The book argues for a gendered and political perspective on the trajectory of development and its impact on women.
Is work necessarily emancipatory and empowering for women in a context of patriarchal structures and capitalist mode of production? Do national surveys capture and enumerate women’s work and the value of this work to the national income adequately? These are some of the questions posed in the compendium of articles selected from Economic and Political Weekly that focus on the multifarious dimensions of the world of work for women. Questions which remains invisible to policymakers, not only in terms of computing this work and its value in an academic sense but also in terms of addressing the macro-level issues about the growing size of informal work and the high participation of women in such work. The articles, carefully selected and edited by Padmini Swaminathan, a professor at the Centre for Women’s Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, cover a range of women’s work, the policies, or the lack of policies, that shape and influence such work and the need for a gendered and political perspective on the trajectory of development and the consequences it has had for women. The articles have been written over a two-and-a-half-decade period. The oldest one in the series, “Dynamics of Sexual Division of Labour and Capital Accumulation”, written by Maria Mies, was published in 1981.
The collection is divided into four sections which, on the face of it, look disparate but are in fact connected in the way each section looks at the world of work of women, first conceptually and then interrogating the data systems that themselves incorporate invisibility. The third section is about sectoral perspectives that look at the myriad forms of labour and the conditions of work where women can be disempowered despite being employed. Finally, there is the section on critiquing the policies themselves. The introduction, by the editor, begins aptly with an excerpt from the seminal report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India (1975), the first such report to emerge in post-Independence India. It underscored how the debate on women’s employment was not only a social or economic issue, but one with deep political and cultural dimensions. Therefore, many of the papers embody the notion that the nature of women’s work, whether as farm labour, in the export processing zone, in the bidi industry or even as bar girls, constitutes economic exploitation characterised by low wages. Hence, Pamini Swaminathan writes that “we do not have to labour the point that almost all the articles included in the volume in different ways allude to deteriorating work and living conditions”.
In fact, what is lacking is a broad and specific theoretical framework that locates all these experiences of exploitative work in a capitalist mode of production. Questions of political economy, then, are just relegated to the background while micro-level details and experiences dominate. This is not to say that all the essays lack a theoretical framework; in fact, most of the papers do encompass a broad political understanding, which may or may not be rooted in an economic doctrine. Padmini Swaminathan rightly points out that the concern regarding the paradigm of development needed far more and in-depth investigations integrated with gender concerns. A lot of time, she says, has been spent in policy evaluation studies that went no further than giving information about women being beneficiaries. The problem is that the policies themselves need to be critiqued much more harshly than is being done at present. For instance, a major part of the government’s efforts at creating employment are directed at creating scheme-based work at low wage rates. Much of these scheme-based work employed women, poor women mainly, and have largely tackled the social determinants of well-being without addressing the well-being of the workers themselves. These are issues that may need to be explored in the coming years given the increased and exaggerated emphasis by the Indian state on social policy interventions.
Modes of production
The first section explores the consequences of what Padmini Swaminathan calls the enmeshing of capitalist and pre-capitalist modes of production. In fact, the coexistence of these two forms has had devastating consequences in social relations, the expressions of which have been seen in increased violence against women, a trend that has become all-pervasive. However, the central argument in the paper by Maithreyi Krishnaraj on women craft workers shows how craft, characterised by low returns, is reserved exclusively for women, while mobility is the preserve of men. She writes that the women are not helpers in the family craft but the main contributors; they perform the role of risk-bearers, providing the household with the basic minimum subsistence that allows the male members to seek alternatives. The craft labour is in addition to all the domestic tasks. The important argument here is that when macro changes, through a loss of demand for traditional products, competition-induced displacement, loss in resources through land policies, and urban-based industrialisation, reduce the opportunities for remunerative employment for a whole section of the population, women, like the craft workers in the study, reduce the severity of the impact of these macro changes on the household through their subsistence activities. Yet, they are undervalued by both the market and the household.
In this section, Maria Mies, writing on the women lace workers of Narsapur in West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, says how the social definition of women as housewives was a necessary precondition for the unlimited exploitation of their labour in the domestic industries and the informal sector. And production for the world market has made the sexual division of labour both in society and in the family not more equal but more unequal. In the process, women have become the losers on all the fronts, writes Maria Mies. Through their reproductive and productive work, they enable the family to survive, even when the men’s income is insufficient. While men free themselves from the act of production itself by becoming agents, traders, etc., women are not able to do so. Maria Mies writes that it was not only the traditional ideology that kept women domesticated; modern, material forces were equally responsible. The division of labour between men and women was not static and the dynamics of change sometimes reinforced, legitimised and maintained the asymmetric and unequal relationship between men and women.
Rabha tribal women digging sand from the Batha river in the Loharghat forest, about 60 km from Guwahati. (RITU RAJ KONWAR A file photograph)
Other papers in this section include Bina Agarwal’s “Work Participation of Rural Women in the Third World” (published in 1985) which focusses on the need for taking corrective measures in the data-gathering process and calls for re-examining analytical concepts as they relate to women; Prem Chowdhury’s paper on “Women and Work in Rural Haryana”, written in the early 1990s, which shows how, despite high participation by women in agricultural activities, their cultural and social evaluation has always been on the lower side; Ujvala Rajadhyaksha and Swati Smita’s “Tracing a Timeline for Work and Family Research in India”, which reviews the literature on women’s studies and social sciences in India, beginning from the mid-1970s to the mid-2000s. This chapter offers a historical insight into the gradual change that came in the understanding of women’s studies and social sciences and the separate trajectories they followed in the areas of work and family research. It laments an apparent disconnect and gaps of perception between the women’s studies perspective and psychosocial research, where the focus has been more on the individual. This paper as such does not add much to the overall debate.
In Section II, which is about women’s invisibility in data systems, all the four articles throw considerable light on how national data systems not only ignore or under-enumerate the economic contribution of women but also are not conceptually and technically equipped to deal with the peculiar circumstances where women are forced to take up activities to sustain the household. Joan Mencher and K. Saradamoni’s article, written in 1982, on women rice cultivators in three States, emphasises how every innovation in paddy cultivation threw women out of work even as there was an urgent need to create additional employment for the women. In the next article, “Valuing Work” by Devaki Jain, published in 1996, the author wonders whether time can be used as an appropriate measure to evaluate work, especially of women who lack assets. There are problems in the manner in which questionnaires on employment and unemployment enumerated female work. The system was not designed to capture the myriad productive activities that women engaged in. Further, looking at the employment and unemployment situation in the 1990s, Indira Hirway focusses on the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data, saying there has been no satisfactory explanation for the decline in the work participation rates in the 1990s. NSSO data did not capture satisfactorily, she says, work in the subsistence sector and informal or home-based sector.
Deepita Chakravarty and Ishita Chakravarty’s paper on “Girl Children in the Care Economy”, published in 2008, looks at the paradoxically high proportion of girl children engaged as domestic workers even as work opportunities for adult women have been shrinking. The fact is that this phenomenon is not confined to West Bengal alone and could be a pointer to a larger crisis of survival in society, where both girl children and adult women have been forced to sell their family labour for domestic or other work. In urban areas, even where there are schools, the number of out-of-school children among the poor continues to be high.
The essays in Section III, comprising five papers, look at the actual working conditions in sectors such as domestic labour, the bidi industry and the leather tanning industry; the breakdown of traditional jajmani relationships; and the interplay of patriarchal structures and capitalist relations of production which results in both empowering and disempowering situations for women.
Going beyond working class women, one paper looks at the problems faced by women scientists in four institutes of excellence. Uma Kothari’s paper looks at women’s paid work and rural transformation, J. Jeyaranjan and Padmini Swaminathan look at the resilience of gender inequities in a Chennai setting, Meena Gopal’s work is on women bidi workers, Millie Nihila looks at the tanning industry, and the paper by the Forum Against Oppression of Women studies the specific case of the bar dancers of Mumbai.
Section IV, the last section, explains the conceptual underpinning for the selection of the articles in the volume, critiquing policy and its implications and consequences for work. The most interesting essay in this section is the one by J. Jeyaranjan, who looks at the pro-poor policies for women in Tamil Nadu, especially the working of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. It argues effectively how dovetailing the MGNREGA with other pro-poor social schemes like the highly subsidised rations or self-help credit programmes has contributed to its success here despite the fact that it is quite organically delinked from the main macroeconomic policies of the government. Jeyaranjan’s village-based study, located in Thanjavur district, argues that the transformatory potential of the MGNREGA is limited as it is a “social policy which is distinctive from and unrelated to the economic and industrial policy of the country”. He says that while welfare policies like the MGNREGA, the public distribution system (PDS) and the State-sponsored SHG credit programmes may alleviate poverty when implemented in letter and spirit and thereby empower women, it cannot transform rural economies characterised by low economic growth, poor investments in infrastructure and nil generation of decent employment.
This book has been carefully compiled and what it shows is that more such studies need to be done, locating the micro within the framework of macro policies which, despite the veneer of various social policy schemes, continue to be directed at the unbridled accumulation of capital and profits at the cost of labour. The social policy schemes themselves need to be exposed for what they are the measly entitlements they encompass and how they have successfully managed to shift the debate from basic demands like land reforms, decent wages, decent and stable employment and social security.
March 8 2013
TO ALL THE WOMEN & GIRLS RISING : THANK YOU
For further inspiring photographs visit HERE
A big thank you to all the women who attended and supported the Million Women Rise March and Rally. It was estimated that there were over 10,000 of us on the streets of London marching and celebrating to see an end to male violence against women.
Thank you to the Million Women Rise stewards, the speakers and performers and to you. Every year we get bigger, stronger and closer as women and as a movement and lets continue to work together to end male violence against women in all it’s forms.
Be Ready, Get Ready Stay Ready until we meet again women for the big one next year Saturday The 8th March 2014.
Onwards and Uprising!
It is Good!
March 8 2013
MWR STATEMENT OF DEMANDSThe Million Women Rise Coalition welcomes the support of ALL women who wish to join the March and sign up to our statement of demands.
The Million Women Rise Coalition is gathering support for the Statement of Demands and invites you/your organisation to consider being a signatory.
By supporting the Statement of Demands attached you will be asking the Government and societies, both at home and internationally:
To acknowledge the continued discrimination faced by all women, the additional discrimination faced by Black women and women from other minority groups, and reflect this in all public policy in the UK and internationally
The prevention of violence against women and children is a cultural, social and political issue and must be a priority for all levels of Government. Action for a national strategy to oppose men’s violence is the responsibility of all political parties and must encompass:
- For the adoption of a broad definition of violence against women, which makes the links between domestic abuse, rape and commercial sexual exploitation
- To pledge support and resources to the women’s not-for-profit sector which is at the forefront of supporting survivors of discrimination, abuse and violence. Women’s services are essential to a woman’s healing and empowerment
- To support the demands of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) and End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes International Forum (ECPAT) for the protection of children and to adopt a cross government strategy addressing all forms of violence against women
- To abolish the ‘no recourse’ requirement for abused women who have insecure immigration status
- For all trafficked women and children to have a guaranteed minimum reflection period, specialist support and medical assistance, specialist safe houses for child and adult victims of trafficking and the right to a temporary residence permit if deemed at risk
- To commit to changing public attitudes and behavior towards women and girls through education initiatives and public awareness campaigns as set out by school programs such as Womankind Worldwide initiatives
- To hold the media accountable for the continued misrepresentation, misappropriation and abuse of the female body throughout all forms of media
- To recognise that global war and conflict perpetuates violence against women and to stop all wars now. Three out of four fatalities of war are women and children
- For International Women’s Day to become a National Bank Holiday in the UK and Ireland in recognition of and to celebrate women’s achievements
- PREVENTION: Active prevention of violence against women and children.
- PROVISION: Adequate provision of quality women-only support services for women and children.
- PROTECTION: Appropriate and effective legal protection for women and children.
SIGN THE MWR STATEMENT OF DEMANDS HERE
March 8 2013
PRESS RELEASE: EUROPES BIGGEST WOMEN'S MARCH CALLS FOR AN END TO MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
More than 10,000 women and children will take to the streets of central London on Saturday, 9 March, 2013. The march, organised by Million Women Rise (MWR), is holding up a mirror to the truth of male violence against women in all its forms, bringing women together to say enough is enough.
Women from across the UK will meet at 12 noon outside Selfridges on Oxford Street making their way to Trafalgar Square at 3pm for the rally.
This year we have already seen the rape of millions of women throughout the world and we are only in March. We have heard the German authority’s apologies to a teenage girl for sending her to a brothel to get work. We saw the gang rape and murder of a 17 year old girl in South Africa and the protest from our sisters there. We have witnessed the Irish government commit murder of a woman who was denied her human right to an abortion. Indian women continue to expose the violence they experience after the gang rape of a young woman who is now dead. Women in Egypt have spoken out against state sponsored violence against women. UK Government statistics revealed less than one rape survivor in 30, who goes to the Police in the UK, will see her attacker brought to justice. We cannot forget women in DR Congo or the British Government support for Rwanda and Uganda, two Governments named by the UN as assisting, arming and directing militia’s in the east of DR Congo responsible for mass rape in this war for mineral wealth.
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