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Theme: Current Developments On Issues Pertaining to Rural Women Shifting Our Platform: In Response to Current Ground Level Phenomena Devaki Jain & Shubha.

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Presentation on theme: "Theme: Current Developments On Issues Pertaining to Rural Women Shifting Our Platform: In Response to Current Ground Level Phenomena Devaki Jain & Shubha."— Presentation transcript:

1 Theme: Current Developments On Issues Pertaining to Rural Women Shifting Our Platform: In Response to Current Ground Level Phenomena Devaki Jain & Shubha Chacko Durban Republic of South Africa 23 to 26 April 2007

2 Rebellion to be effective requires a mass, mass requires solidarity..and solidarity requires an idea which inspires and induces that solidarity. We the women of this Congress are the mass; our quest here should be for that idea around which we can unite... … I call it Gandhi’s fistful of salt

3 Women, Water and Wealth. WOMEN = idea creators, - the women’s movement hope for organized creative rebellion WOMEN = idea creators, - the women’s movement hope for organized creative rebellion WATER = symbol of many aspirations - political, social, economic, environmental, health and cultural WATER = symbol of many aspirations - political, social, economic, environmental, health and cultural WEALTH = symbol of poverty and inequality, current driving force in the world, money and accumulation WEALTH = symbol of poverty and inequality, current driving force in the world, money and accumulation

4 We pledged to build a more appropriate theory, development framework. We pledged to build a more appropriate theory, development framework. Enable women in poverty to walk out of it, not to be trapped into it. Enable women in poverty to walk out of it, not to be trapped into it. (www.casablanca-dream.net )

5 The concept of shifting – shifting our advocacy, our voice, – shifting our advocacy, our voice, from the need based approach from the need based approach to to the dramatic shifts in ground level phenomena

6 from conventional demands of a Rural Women’s Congress; from conventional demands of a Rural Women’s Congress; to to changes in fiscal policy, and international economic relations; changes in fiscal policy, and international economic relations; in the engines of growth, protocols of south south cooperation, the value of food and agriculture in the engines of growth, protocols of south south cooperation, the value of food and agriculture

7 The Shifting is …. -from the employer to the worker, -from the employer to the worker, - from the rich to the poor, - from the rich to the poor, - from the factory floor to the home, - from the factory floor to the home, - from the state to the citizen, - from the state to the citizen, - from social cohesion to social conflict, - from social cohesion to social conflict, - from the young to the old - from the young to the old - and through migration from the men to the women - and through migration from the men to the women - and through jobless growth also from the men to the women. - and through jobless growth also from the men to the women.

8 Shifting also in the Composition of Gross Domestic Product, first from agriculture sector to services Composition of Gross Domestic Product, first from agriculture sector to services Land use from growing crops to hosting export zones, Land use from growing crops to hosting export zones, Types of the crops – from food to cash; a shift from food security to insecurity, Types of the crops – from food to cash; a shift from food security to insecurity,

9 Shifting in Centres of power, from local & national to global. Centres of power, from local & national to global. Control over knowledge, from women& communities to corporates & institutions, Control over knowledge, from women& communities to corporates & institutions, Cultural values, from sustainability to consumerism, and Cultural values, from sustainability to consumerism, and Identity - categories and urban are blurred. Identity - categories and urban are blurred.

10 Hirabai

11 Of the Siddi Community, Of the Siddi Community, --descendents from African immigrants 400 years ago --descendents from African immigrants 400 years ago Natural leader of a Self Help Group Natural leader of a Self Help Group SHG women have through Collective strength often become a voice in politics SHG women have through Collective strength often become a voice in politics

12 Siddi Women

13 What she has accomplished “Out here, ours is the only village where we are concerned about children's education and their future." she said in simple Gujarati, forcefully waving her hand. “Out here, ours is the only village where we are concerned about children's education and their future." she said in simple Gujarati, forcefully waving her hand. Today children of the village receive basic education at this centre along with a meal! Today children of the village receive basic education at this centre along with a meal!

14 Parvamma

15 Amongst the poor, the wretched, the hungry, the violated, the last person, it is always the woman Amongst the poor, the wretched, the hungry, the violated, the last person, it is always the woman Gandhi referred to the poor as being the direct embodiment of god Gandhi referred to the poor as being the direct embodiment of god “All I seem to do is work, work and work and yet I am just able to keep my head above water. But somehow we have to pull on." “All I seem to do is work, work and work and yet I am just able to keep my head above water. But somehow we have to pull on." There is no trace of self-pity in her words.

16 Women Panchayat Leaders

17 Pushpa Devi. She is illiterate (62% among women) She is illiterate (62% among women) She is poor (women make up 70%) She is poor (women make up 70%) She is a survivor of domestic violence (as two-third married women are) She is a survivor of domestic violence (as two-third married women are) Now she is the chairperson of the local self govt Now she is the chairperson of the local self govt Presides over the six thousand people Presides over the six thousand people ( a budget of over USD 6000) ( a budget of over USD 6000)

18 Sujatha Kanwar

19 From rural Rajasthan, a desert state, acute water shortage, high rates of infant maternal mortality, illiteracy and above all, a form of pardha, i.e. veiling. From rural Rajasthan, a desert state, acute water shortage, high rates of infant maternal mortality, illiteracy and above all, a form of pardha, i.e. veiling. Not Muslims, - Hindus. Not Muslims, - Hindus. Migrates seasonally to cities with a child on her hip breaking stones, working on construction site. Migrates seasonally to cities with a child on her hip breaking stones, working on construction site.

20 Meera Behn

21 The one that had to leave “Everything in the city was strange when I came here for the first time, but now I know this place better. I do miss my home in the village. But we cannot find any employment there so we come here – especially during the drought. Having no fixed home leads to a range of problems – children’s education suffers, we cannot avail of government schemes and I feel a sense of rootlessness.”

22 Yamunabai

23 Farmer’s Suicides She sits outside a shack with a picture of her husband She sits outside a shack with a picture of her husband She has four children to support She has four children to support Politicians have offered her compensation money. Politicians have offered her compensation money. They cannot ensure a new job or an enterprise They cannot ensure a new job or an enterprise She would not know how to go about it. She would not know how to go about it. The future is bleak; the land cannot yield profit The future is bleak; the land cannot yield profit Young women have found another way of out. They have become prostitutes. Young women have found another way of out. They have become prostitutes.

24 Sajida

25 Migration as a coping situation Migrating to countries in the Middle east as domestic maids and cooks Migrating to countries in the Middle east as domestic maids and cooks “I am insecure about my future as my employers have taken away my passport; and I have no voice here. But I need the money to repay a loan I has taken to pay the medical bills of my aging father.” “I am insecure about my future as my employers have taken away my passport; and I have no voice here. But I need the money to repay a loan I has taken to pay the medical bills of my aging father.”

26 The water bearers

27 Women are main providers of water Women are main providers of water Source it from various places Source it from various places Spend long hours queuing for water. Spend long hours queuing for water. Problems: lack of sleep, withdrawal of girls from school, ill health, conflicts at the water pump. Problems: lack of sleep, withdrawal of girls from school, ill health, conflicts at the water pump. Indian women spend 150 million work days each year collecting/waiting for a pot of water. Indian women spend 150 million work days each year collecting/waiting for a pot of water. “We are the ‘proud women warriors’, as filling water from a public tap means standing in the queue for hours and fighting” said Martha a slum dweller in Bangalore. “We are the ‘proud women warriors’, as filling water from a public tap means standing in the queue for hours and fighting” said Martha a slum dweller in Bangalore.

28 Changes In the Economy

29 Over twenty years services have grown to be nearly 50% of measured economic activity Over twenty years services have grown to be nearly 50% of measured economic activity Agriculture and is down to about 25% of the economy Agriculture and is down to about 25% of the economy Industry has remained constant at about 25% of the economy Industry has remained constant at about 25% of the economy

30 India’s “economic growth miracle” = India’s “economic growth miracle” = Back office services for MNCs Back office services for MNCs Films Films Advertising Advertising Tourism, etc. Tourism, etc. All of these are completely irrelevant to the life and livelihood of poor and rural women All of these are completely irrelevant to the life and livelihood of poor and rural women

31 Our Collective Voice


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