Lynette Dumble is an untiring activist. Based in Melbourne, Australia, she wears too many hats to count here. A few will do. She's been a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne's Department of Surgery, visiting professor of surgery at the University of Texas and visiting medical scientist at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Illinois. She would like to be known as a feminist and one of her proud achievements, among many, is that she is founder and director of the Global Sisterhood Network, a universal alliance of feminists who are working together to promote "biodiversity".
She has authored more than 500 articles in medical, scientific, environmental and political journals on subjects ranging from transplantation immunobiology, malethics of reproductive and agricultural biotechnologies, global pandemic of mad cow disease, political, scientific and social discrimination against females from "womb to tomb." She was in Hyderabad recently.
Excerpts from a Deccan Herald
interview: What brings you to Hyderabad?
I have been coming here for a long time. We in the developed countries have so much to learn from the developing countries.
Seven million women in Andhra Pradesh are involved in programmes to empower themselves. Our agenda is to have zero tolerance for domestic violence, promote girls' education and so on. We take back solutions. How does that work out?
The problem is the corporate mindset has no place for women or the poor.
A classic example is that of genetic engineering crops which takes away the rights of women which they got after a long and arduous struggle...a significant number of women are farmers and GE crops take away the rights of women to cultivate their traditional crops, feed their families what they want...GE crops make women farmers dependent, nullifying all these years of struggle to regain their voice. Your thoughts on violence against women?
Domestic violence is a huge issue and it is a global one, not of India alone. Three-fourths of women across the world have been victims of domestic violence at some stage in their life. At another level, take the population policy. There is a backlash against women. In the name of development, the poorest of the poor are being sterilised...the median age for sterilisation in AP is 22 years. It is a total contradiction of India's development policy. In practice, the policy is being violated in all aspects like the two-child policy, spacing of children, use of coercion and offer of incentives- the poorest women are being victimised. What is the alternative then?
Safe sex is the alternative...how can abstinence be recommended? What about women in the developed world?
Earlier we used to say that women counted for less than half. Now I believe we count for nothing, things have deteriorated. It is far worse than we imagine. I believe we are lingering in the 19th century when listening to women. The philosophy towards women is - keep them poor and ignorant so that you have captive subjects. It was the same unspoken philosophy in the Catholic Church of the 18th and 19th centuries. Why are women victimised everywhere?
Because we have patriarchy everywhere.