“I DO NOT WISH WOMEN TO HAVE POWER OVER WOMEN BUT OVER THEMSELVES”- MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT
Indian society was primarily a patriarchal society where men used to dominate and were considered to have a higher say in the house. Women’s were not allowed to oppose any decision taken by them. India is also a religious society whose rites and ritual’s, wrong interpretation done by society gave birth to social evils like child marriage, dowry system, sati system etc. These were primarily opposed by elite class and were to an extent effective but to get rid of it, society as a whole has to change its mind-set. So, there was a need for women to come up as a women as well as a member of society to fight for their own rights and betterment of society. Thus, many women social activist came up to fight for their rights. But, now the area of social worker has widened. They are continuously working to bring significant change in the present situation to ensure a peaceful and clean environment to be lived in.
Women who are working individually as well as running an organisation are as follows:
- CENTER FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH
A voluntary organisation led by Dr. Ranjana kumari(director) works mainly towards gender justice and following key issues :
- Violence against women
- Pre – natal sex selection
- Engendered governance
- Women and economy
Tri- fold position of working :
- Experienced facilitator of grassroots program and training.
- An esteemed research institute.
- A lobbyist, advocate and advisor to government institutions.
Through four independent departments (action research, development [political, economic and socio-legal empowerment] division, capacity building and policy and law changing) working together solve every issue and area taken up. Along with this network with regional, national as well as international level partners work towards change in all levels and sectors of society.
- INDIA VISION FOUNDATION
A voluntary, non-profit organisation conceived and lead by Dr. Kiran Bedi, first women IPS officer. It works for prisoners’ rights (both men and women) and children’s living with their mothers in Tihar jail. It was started in 1994 with the mission to save the next victim. Several projects have been initiated which are as follows:
Life Skills Project is a project for adolescent prisoners wherein training will be imparted on a mass scale in the adolescent prison of Tihar Jail. This is done twice a week for the entire prison population. This project is affecting the lives of 5000 prisoners. Through training and workshops of these young adults on relevant issues they seek to change their life’s track a bit. The training will cover all the topics, which must be shared with them besides occasions for building and encouraging their talent. Thus, besides the regular training there will be competitions, street plays, debates, fests which will broaden their minds. This is an effort to help unlearn all the negatives these adolescents picked up as children and learn totally new concepts thus giving them a whole new objective on life.
After a successful crèche project for children under the age of six established within the prison premises, there was a need for the extension of this project so that the children henceforth are not exposed to unsafe surroundings once they move out of prison after the age of six. CVF is an extension of the Crèche Project, aiming to provide primary and secondary school education to the children of the incarcerated parents in collaboration with various missionary schools to provide them with better health, education aiming towards social, physical and psychological rehabilitation.
- RESCUE FOUNDATION(Mumbai based)
A non-profit organisation led by Mrs Triveni Balkrishna Acharya working on human trafficking and forced prostitution by involving in multifarious activities of rescuing, rehabilitating (full health care, protection, skill development and legal aid) , reintegrating and repatriating the unfortunate and underprivileged girl’s and children’s.
- TEACH FOR INDIA
It is a nationwide movement under teach to lead, led by Anu Aga (chairperson) with a motive to provide education to children’s through two theories of change-
- Short term- Through outstanding college graduates and young professionals who will teach full time for two years to under- resource schools.
- Long term- after two years they are inducted into alumni movement where they work from inside and outside to bring about fundamental, long term changes necessary to realize educational opportunity for all.
- AKANKSHA FOUNDATION
Founded by Shaheen Mistri for providing education to urban slum and low- income community children’s. Currently, Akanksha reaches out to over 4600 children through two models: the after-school or centre model and the School Project. Akanksha has 15 centres and 15 schools in Mumbai and Pune.
It was conceived by Dr. Kiran Bedi, first IPS officer, started in 1998 which runs various programs:
- Child education – to prevent vulnerable children dropping out from mainstream education, to stop them from doing criminal activities.
- Skills for youth to make them capable enough to earn their living.
- Women empowerment- it has made women socially empowered (victims of domestic abuse) and financially independent through providing right opportunity easily accessible. Primarily went to rural areas.
- Community development- through awareness programs it makes community aware of their rights and responsibilities to get the solution of local problems and also to sensitize them on broader issues like water preservation and also carries out family counselling (family issues).
- Environment- imparts knowledge on water, sanitation, organic farming etc. with the help of experts in environment.
- Model program- drug de-addiction program offered integrated treatment and counselling to more than 60 patients at any given point of time where they go under six month residential detoxification and correction program which prepares them to get back to society.
It was founded by Ms Raashi Anand in 2004 which is currently working in seven states and recently commenced its international chapter with Scotland. It runs various programs such as Toy program (children who don’t have toys), Rooh (creating awareness on issues affecting the lives of women and making women financially independent through skill development) and health programs to spread knowledge on health and nutrition and provides free medicines.
Flavia Agnes ,started majlis in 1990, an organisation that supports women’s access to the legal system (including marital disputes, domestic violence, economic rights and property settlements), tries to empower women by informing them about their rights, conducting legal awareness programmes for women’s groups across Mumbai, engaging in policy interventions and public campaigns, creating support systems for rape victims and publishing books and articles on women’s issue, offers financial assistance to clients who cannot afford the full cost of legal services, nearly 80% of the cases are funded and theirs is a “‘pay-as-much-as-you-can’ organisation. Majlis also conducts paralegal training of police officers, NGOs, social workers, lawyers, marriage counsellors on the rules and guidelines of laws relating to marriage and divorce, Prevention of Child Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) etc. Majlis also campaigns against the Uniform Civil Code, Child sexual abuse, biases in the Media and for reforms in personal laws and matrimonial property rights and defends bar dancers.
- R.I.D.E INDIA(districts of Maharashtra)
A Non-profit organisation led by director Mrs Isha.Y.Mehra and CEO Dr. Subhadra Anand which works towards early childhood care, development and protection, education, women’s empowerment, relief and rehabilitation work, health and so on.
- SNEHA(Greater Mumbai)
Led by Vanessa D’Souza (CEO) working on maternal and new born health issues, prevention of violence against women and children, child health and nutrition and sexual and reproduction health.
These are some more organisations and individuals which are working continuously to help the vulnerable people and keep a track of changing societal conditions as it is said that:
“CHANGE IS THE LAW OF NATURE”
As there are two facets of coins similarly there are two side of this paper. One side which brings up the social activist image of women who are working very hard to eliminate the evils from the society but the other side asks where is the result. Here are some figures:
Rate of violent crimes– 12%
Rate of crime against women– 10.2%
The question here arises why it is so and what is the solution. The most probable answer would be that it’s not one man initiative to see to the problems of the society rather it is for the whole society to pay attention to the prevailing problems and moreover women as she is the reason for the existence of a society. So, when more women will take the initiative there is a greater scope of elimination of evils from roots and is required.
By :-DIVYA CHAURASI, 1ST YEAR STUDENT OF INSTITUTE OF LAW, NIRMA UNIVERSITY