Day 2: Increasing Women's Resource Base to end violence in a globalising world Print E-mail

Secretariat : Sathi All For Partnerships
E-18 Anand Lok, Mayur Vihar Phase I, New Delhi 110091, India

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Speakers: Joy Nawakwe from Nigeria, Khushi Kabir from Bangladesh, Kalyani Meena, Alli Geetha, Shiraz Wajih, Naaz Raza and Sabiha Hussain from India, Nazma Saddque From Pakistan, Abbey Zziwa from Uganda, Jagat Basnet and Luxmi from Nepal and Aijmal Baskova from Kyrgyzstan
Date: 22 January 2007
Number of participants: 15
Organising agencies: Consult for Women and Land Rights (CWLR)

Background: This session got CWLR members to arrive at a common strategy for developing and adopting Women Resource Rights Agenda in local context.

The Women’s Resource Agenda (WRRA) seeks the introductions of policies and laws that addresses women’s ESC rights and create opportunities for women's access to resources like land, housing, and related resources. These policies should be created at all tiers of governments and vigorously enforced at national and local levels. Governments should collaborate with local NGOs for the promulgation the relevant policies, programs and laws in this field. The increase in women’s resource base will provide the bargaining as well as technical capacity within women to participate in governance system to combat violence within families as well as states.
WRRA demands the introduction of gender sensitive budgeting and implementation mechanisms, which will serve to close the gap between men and women in areas such as for example economic status. The suggested mechanisms will take women's current economic status into consideration as well as make specific provision for projects that will increase women's opportunities at earning an income.
Thus, stakeholders in this field need to generate a thought process for implementing strategies at the local level throughout the world, with plans of action, in order to build a world where women own, manage and control resources in the urban as well as rural areas.   

Sharing from the session:
In spite of a great mobilization drive the session was not attended by many external leaders and participants due to the remoteness of its location and multiple parallel sessions going on the same issue. This however turned out to be blessing in disguise as the platform provided an opportunity to have an internal dialogue and develop understanding about each countries context and strategies of adopting WRRA for future action.

Understanding the Pakistan’s context by Najma Sadaque in terms of food security and agriculture was a new learning for us. Infact the proposed One women One acre campaign seems a viable tool for ensuring land and related livelihood opportunities to women there.  The issue of Tribal women on their struggle against revoking good practices in customary laws and doing away with practices which devoid their ownership on land. Compensation only to men in case of displacement is a prime concern in the religion. MS. Kalyani Meena from Jharkhand, India thus shared the strategy of lobbying with the Government, politicians and building alliance with other groups working on tribal women’s rights.

Further Ms. Sabiha Hussain from India discussed the key role that WRRA can play in changing the situation of Muslim women which till date is guided by personal laws rather than the laws of the country. The WRRA component has the potential to take this debate to a different level and ensure the rights to Muslim Women in terms of projects and programme and not just inheritance. Taking this issue forward in the era of globalization Ms.Khushi Kabir form Bangladesh stated that “ Organizing Rural Women for claiming their rights bypasses all the social hindrances. This would provide us ways to deal with local structural problems and clarify the way forward”.

“No condition is permanent and we hope to change the condition”. Starting the discussion with this optimistic sentence Dr.Abbey Zziwa from Uganda Land Alliance focused on the need of orientation within the women groups to increase awareness and facilitate their voices. Emphasizing on the problem of housing and displacement of women workers Ms Alli said that the component of women’s zone (Ajaala) under WRRA can be the next thing to take upon as a solution. Mr.Jagat Basenet along with two landless women from Nepal presented the situation of women in an environment of insurgency and Maoist opposition.

Way forward:
1)    Adopt multiple approaches for new commons- building a new common with a gender approach.
2)    Bring political parties in the process to push forward the gender friendly policies.
3)    Develop strong women leaders from within the deprived rural and urban women.
4)    Focus on development and implementation of specific programmes at different levels ( see plan below) based on increase understanding of resources in a given area through resource mapping and gender budgeting.

Outcome of the discussions at WSF
A plan to implement women land and resource rights globally
The need to further develop work on women’s ownership of housing, land, infrastructure is felt by many organizations and networks. This is evident from the fact that more than twelve events were organized on women and land during the World Social Forum in Jan 07 in Nairobi. An attempt was made to collate experiences at the WSF from three global networks ( HIC, HC and CWLR) and from Action Aid partners. Even as hear out sessions for each others work happened the time to consolidate learning and arriving at a common framework of action agenda could not be reached except in a few cases. This paper attempt to provide a framework for each one of us to develop work in our own context and report success and difficulties for cross country sharing to increase resource base for women with a period of three years. Proposals on campaigns and projects to make each of the tasks mentioned below are needed. Sharing already existing proposals and reports will  be one way to begin our partnership on work

Local level: Developing and understanding of how personal laws and customary practices facilitate or prevent women to own land but focusing more on how new land could be got from the government for livelihood and housing programmes that women can mange. For this resource mapping of resources need to be done at the community level to get their consent for this move to create the new commons. The struggle to retain the old commons need to be continued while asking for the new land in control and under the management of women’s group.( for details see the Women Resource Right agenda at the local level). Watch dog groups , crises, information and resource centres will be demanded in addition to the livelihood programs in urban and rural areas. The new commons will have inheritance of the rights based on a succession plan that passes the control of the land grant from one woman to another. This will be part of a state lead program on creating spaces in city and village development for women.   

State level: Laws and budget allocation for the woman resource right agenda needs to develop for the one window approach to make government plans work for creation of the  resource base for communities under the ownership of women through a state women resource right agenda. These need to be linked through state sponsored information and resource centres Specific campaigns for law reform need to be identified along with publicity campaign to transform attitudes and behaviours

National level : National studies on status of women’s ownership of resources and plan to fill the gap based on a gender equity and group approach to land right. Identify policy level changes and programmatic application of those policies to implement women resource rights program. Allocation of specific budget for seminars to create body of knowledge and information packs, training and spaces. Developing gendered tools on land and resource rights.

International level: Training women to lobby for the women resource right agenda at four levels of operation.