Be a voice of Social Change- International Charity Day


September 5 is the death anniversary of Mother Teresa and the United Nation observes it as the International Day of Charity. The whole world is aware of Mother Teresa’s dedicated work for poor, distress and oppressed people. She gave a different meaning to Social Work. Charity in the form of love, care, emotions and social service was very close to her heart. Charity can contribute in reducing poverty and can alleviate worst effects of humanitarian crisis. It is beneficial for the advancement of our rights and social welfare.
What do we understand by the term Charity? Does it only mean helping someone financially or does it has a wider meaning? The meaning and notion of Charity has changed with the time and now it is more about promoting the rights of marginalized and underprivileged sections of society. Charity does not only confine to providing financial aid to the vulnerable people but it‘s definition has changed with time. As Mother Teresa also said once, “Charity isn’t about pity, it is about love”. The one, who knows and learns to take care of his/her family, must have emotion, love and values for others as well. Charity begins first at home then only one can understands human sufferings both within and outside their home. From this comes the understanding of helping those in need, in order to bring about a change in someone’s world.

The one, who knows and learns to take care of his/her family, must have emotion, love and values for others as well. Charity begins first at home then only one can understands human sufferings both within and outside their home. From this comes the understanding of helping those in need, in order to bring about a change in someone’s world.

In today’s world, we witness violence against women around us in our daily lives. Be it within our family, at our neighbor’s home or at our work place. Women experience discrimination and subject to different forms of oppression- domestic abuse, physical abuse, marital rape, dowry violence, etc. Women usually don’t speak about sexual violence or harassment at their work place. The reason of their silence is simply that most women are not aware of their rights and the legal framework that works for their protection. What do we do about it then? We can give our time to such distress women and make them aware of their legal rights or remedy available to them. Time is also a kind of charity to bring about a social change. Our one-time intervention and efforts may have a positive impact on someone’s personal well-being. It is our moral imperative to find solutions and look after destitute and oppressed people around us.

Time is also a kind of Charity to bring about a social change. Our one-time intervention and efforts may have a positive impact on someone’s personal well-being. It is our moral imperative to find solutions and look after destitute and oppressed people around us.

It is sad that gender-based violence is prevalent in India and several civil society organizations, NGOs and Women’s rights activists are working to help such women through volunteer work, skill development and providing them with legal assistance. Empowering women with legal and economic protection allows them to have their voices heard in larger decisions. Gender equality will help reduce poverty and encourage growth and development. Therefore, providing equal opportunities to women can also make humanitarian aid more effective.

On this International Charity Day, we urge people to become a voice for those in need of help and speak up against injustices to ensure that these vulnerable voices are not left unheard in society. So next time will you help, if you see any kind of oppression and violence against women around you, make sure you will help the oppressed. Giving time to your community through volunteerism, charity or other means does so much to help those in needs and contribute to social change. Charity is no more about helping people with money; it is about bringing an initiative of change in our society, of helping people who don’t have a voice, taking a stand against violence and not tolerating any kind of injustices.

Giving time to your community through volunteerism, charity or other means does so much to help those in needs and contribute to social change. Charity is no more about helping people with money; it is about bringing an initiative of change in our society, of helping people who don’t have a voice, taking a stand against violence and not tolerating any kind of injustices.

The Problems of the Gender Wage Gap


When we talk about gender equality in India, we look at the statistics that says women in India earn 19% less than men. According to the Monster Salary Index (MSI), the median gross salary of a man in India stood at Rs. 242.49 for an hour, while it was Rs.196.3 for women. And while the statistic is factually accurate, there’s a lot that hides behind this gap. While the numbers are a comparison of the amount of money women and men get for the same amount of work and time, what should also be highlighted is the difference between opportunities and discrimination is represents.

According to the Monster Salary Index (MSI), the median gross salary of a man in India stood at Rs. 242.49 for an hour, while it was Rs.196.3 for women.

It also doesn’t highlight how the wage gap affects women with different educational backgrounds, ages, family backgrounds and the kind of work they’re offered on the basis of these factors. In order to fulfill the challenge of closing the wage gap, these factors have to be visualized. Starting with the problem of the wage gap, it becomes evident that the gap between opportunities present for men and women are different and governed by various prejudices. Even now, when women are called for interviews, questions like “are you married?”, “will you quit if you get married?” “will staying late be a problem?” are inevitable, and so are their consequences.

Starting with the problem of the wage gap, it becomes evident that the gap between opportunities present for men and women are different and governed by various prejudices.

There’s also the fact that marriage or having a child equates to less productivity at the workplace. These prejudices have hindered the chances of women entering the workforce and being granted positions of power. It might be surprising to realize that even in fields that are pre-dominantly associated with women such as healthcare, care giving services and social work, men earn 21% percent more than women. The survey also discovered that the wage gap is relatively lower in the initial period of joining employment, but becomes wider once the tenure increases significantly.

It might be surprising to realize that even in fields that are pre-dominantly associated with women such as healthcare, care giving services and social work, men earn 21% percent more than women.

While men are given benefits and raises regularly, women who are working at the same post, for the same amount of time or even longer, are paid lesser and lesser. With over 12 years of experience, men start earning 15% more than their female counterparts. This is not just a statistic, but an indication of deep-rooted patriarchy and the fear of letting women work. The survey also discovered that half of the women believe that they will face discrimination at work after they are married, and they also believe that maternity leads to a perception that they are not committed to their professional lives and will quit due to them giving birth. Please note that no men have ever felt the need to do the same.

The survey also discovered that half of the women believe that they will face discrimination at work after they are married, and they also believe that maternity leads to a perception that they are not committed to their professional lives and will quit due to them giving birth.

With patriarchy and gender-roles continuously creating ideologies that dictate the dichotomy between home and the world and the role that women and men play within these sectors, women miss out on essential opportunities that can lead to their personal development and economic empowerment. But the impact of the wage gap is not just personal; it can also be felt by the economic structures of our country. While having both women and men working, it’s obvious that productivity increases. It also introduces new workers in all sectors, and creates more opportunities for both formal and informal organizations to grow rapidly. The decline in opportunity and the rampant discrimination based on gender, not only hinders a whole gender but it also directly effects the economic development of our country and its sustainability.

With patriarchy and gender-roles continuously creating ideologies that dictate the dichotomy between home and the world and the role that women and men play within these sectors, women miss out on essential opportunities that can lead to their personal development and economic empowerment.

World day against Trafficking in Persons 2019 by Akanksha Sharma


“I arrived at JFK with four other women and a man, and we were divided into two groups. Johnny took all my documents, including my passport, and led me to his car with two of the other women.

That was when things started to get strange.”
This is what Shandra Woworuntu, a sex-trafficking victim and survivor told BBC in an interview. Shandra Woworuntu was from Indonesia who lost a well-paid job as a result of Asian financial crisis. In dire need of money and employment, Shandra went to the US to work in the hospitality sector. But, luck had something else in store for her. In the garb of giving employment to women in the hotel industry, a huge sex-trafficking racket was being run which invited women from different parts of the world through hoax advertisements and communication channels. When the women arrived at the airport, they were taken to different hotels and brothels unknowingly. Some women had been manipulated with time to work as free prostitutes, and others like Shandra were made sex slaves who worked under duress.

Shandra, in her interview to BBC, revealed that she was constantly drugged and forced to have sex with as many customers. However, after months of hellish struggle, Shandra managed to flee from the brothel she was kept in. Shandra complained to the police and helped the other women who were kept as sex slaves. The traffickers of this racket got identified and punished.

Due to Shandra’a impeccable will, she saved herself and many other women like her. However, there are innumerable women like Shandra who are tricked into sex-trafficking and subjected to an unbearable heinous treatment. Many of such women are never able to run away from this ruthless world of sex-trafficking and the count of such women is unknown and endless.

Many of such women are never able to run away from this ruthless world of sex-trafficking and the count of such women is unknown and endless.

Human trafficking has become a commercial business which has confidential networks that are hard to trace. Shandra was one of the few fortunate women who are able to escape, but her example highlights the fact that sex-trafficking rackets are being carried on such a massive level that they have strong contacts in advertising, immigration, hospitality, and so much more.
And this becomes even harder to curb because commercial human trafficking makes billions in profits every year. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), forced labour alone generates an estimated $150 billion in profits per annum as of 2014.The International Labour Organization also states that about 4.5 million people(mostly women) worldwide are forced into sex trafficking by coercive or abusive means and escape is nearly impossible for them.

About 4.5 million people (mostly women) worldwide are forced into sex trafficking by coercive or abusive means.

Reportedly, a complex set of factors like poverty, unemployment, discrimination against women, commercial demand for sex, and globalization are responsible for sex trafficking of women. In most cases, poor and less-educated women are pushed into trafficking as they have limited access to opportunities, or more than often women enter sex trafficking,unaware.

A communication medium of sex trafficking that has emerged in the recent times is the internet.
In today’s world, globalization and the advent of internet are simplifying sex trafficking to a large extent. Reports show that explicit and untraceable sites are facilitating sex trafficking. Then social networking sites are ostensibly used for commercial sex trafficking by traffickers. What is appalling is that under-age girls are the major victims of online sex trafficking.

Centre for social Research was formed with the aim of empowerment of women in our society. Since its establishment in 1983, CSR has worked day and night to reform the society’s outlook towards women.
With the motive of development of women, CSR has taken various measures to mitigate sex-trafficking of women. In 2018, CSR organized a training session with CBI officials on anti-human trafficking. This training was conducted successfully, highlighting the role of police networks in diminishing trafficking of women.
Moreover, CSR’s director, Dr. Ranjana Kumari has served as the Coordinator of the South Asia Network Against Trafficking (SANAT) in Persons.

CSR’s director, Dr. Ranjana Kumari has served as the Coordinator of the South Asia Network Against Trafficking (SANAT) in Persons.


CSR’s other programs like Women’s Skill Development and Social surfing are generating a wave of transformation among women and youth.
CSR’s Centre for Excellence for Women’s Skill Development offers specialized trainings such as-Women’s Security Guard Training, Office Assistant Training and Sports for Girls. These programs are motivating socially immobilized women to learn skills and earn a living so that a poor financial state doesn’t force them into sex trafficking or any other such profession.
#SocialSurfing is another initiative by CSR in association with Facebook, that conducts workshops in institutions to create awareness about the critical effects of social media and safety tools present. This training assists in reducing unsafe practices online by spreading the word about privacy measures on social networks.
So, in a world where human trafficking is on a constant rise, an organization like CSR is trying to help women to lead a safe and empowered life. The current environment requires each one of us to become more aware about fake communication channels and essential safety measures.

The current environment requires each one of us to become more aware about fake communication channels and essential safety measures.

This World Day against Trafficking in Persons, Centre for Social Research asks you to stay safe and also assist in reducing human trafficking by referring CSR’s helpful programs to as many women and institutions as possible.

Read ShandraWoworuntu’s full interview here-
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35846207

Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking#cite_note-16

Project Launch Event for Office Assistant Training Program on 8th July 2019


On 8th July 2019, Centre for Social Research (CSR) in collaboration with German Embassy, New Delhi, had launched a unique Office Assistant Training Program at their Training Centre at Plot-98, Sector-44,Gurugram.CSR, is one of the leading Women’s Institutions working in the field of social action since 1983. The launch event was graced by the presence of H.E. Mr. Walter J. Lindner; German Ambassador to India, Dr. Ranjana Kumari; Director, Centre for Social Research,Ms. Theresa Moosburner; from the Political and Protocol Department, German Embassy, New Delhi, Col. Anil Pokhriyal; CEO and Executive Board Member of Management & Entrepreneurship and Professional Skills Council (MEPSC), Mr. Rajesh Malhotra; Managing Director of Greenwood Developers and member of Ba’hai, Col. K. K. Singh; Director, Olive Heritage Education And Welfare Society Gurgaon and Mr. Rahul Mukand; Policy Advisor ofNew Zealand Embassy, New Delhi. Additionally, on this occasion more than 100 participates gathered, including Office Assistant batch-1 trainees, other potential candidates and ex-trainees from Women’s Security Guard Training Program joined us to celebrate the launch event.

Time is Running Out by Sarojini Sapru


India’s Water Crisis – Why Groundwater Recharge is Key
India’s sixth largest city Chennai, has run out of water. The NITI Aayog has released a study, stating that India is facing its worst water crisis in history, and that the demand for potable water through the country will outstrip supply by 2030 if steps are not taken. The report goes on to say that nearly 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress, and about 2 lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water. Twenty-one cities including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people. Moreover groundwater resources, which account for 40% of India’s water supply are being depleted at “unsustainable” rates and upto 70% of India’s water supply is contaminated.

This crisis is real, and it is happening now. The intensification of human activity, coupled with extreme weather events caused by climate change can lead to longer periods of droughts and floods (India is facing its worst drought in decades, resulting from a deadly heat-wave and delayed monsoons). These extreme conditions increase the demand for groundwater – which is already a critical and overexploited resource in the country. Enhancing the underground storage of water is a practical and robust measure to augment the availability of fresh water, and to enhance climate change adaption. It is therefore imperative that groundwater play a more prominent role in climate debates.

These unsustainable levels of exploitation have serious implications for the sustainability of agriculture, economic growth and livelihoods, as well as long term food security. A 2012 report by the World Bank notes that India is the largest user of groundwater in the world (“using an estimated 230 cubic kilometres of groundwater per year – over a quarter of the global total”). The report further estimated that more than 60% of irrigated agriculture and 85% of drinking water supplies are dependent on ground water. The potential social and economic consequences of continued weak or non-existent groundwater management are serious. The implications are also disturbing for a plethora of reasons: for sustaining economic growth and local livelihoods, and for environmental sustainability. The consequences will be most severe for vulnerable populations.

Noting the high percentage of irrigated agriculture that is dependent on groundwater, it is important to notes that in states, such as Rajasthan (which is one of the driest states in the country) it is primarily women who work in the fields and perform agricultural tasks and labour. However, several studies have highlighted that despite the fact that it is the women who perform the bulk of agricultural labour in fields in India, they are largely excluded from decision-making activities . The role of women in water conservation and recharge is integral. Providing women with a platform to engage with water conservation and recharge on both a policy level, as well as a ground level is essential. By acknowledging the role that women play in agriculture, and water-related work and building their capacities in this regard, so they are not “invisible workers”, women’s voices and leadership will increase, along with their participation in decision making, and therefore social and economic life. Read about CRS’s efforts towards strengthening climate action by promoting gender equality.

Source: Niti Aayog Composite Water Resources Management Report

Because kicking ‘like a girl’ is just as cool – KamyaYadav & Akanksha Sharma


Centre for Social Research is undertaking a project that is focused on empowering girls through sports. Focused on five districts of Haryana that are the most sex-skewed, that is have the worst gender ratios, the project aims to make communities in these districts understand how sports can be empowering for young girls. CSR is one of the many NGOs in India that has taken the mantle of using sports to further the development and advancement of girls in the country. How exactly do sports like football or cricket empower girls in our country, and around the world?

Over the years, a lot of journalists and media houses have covered stories of girls around the world who have used sports to move out of poverty, to gain access to healthcare and education, to advance their careers and achieve independence. In the simplest way, when girls get access to sports, via training and coaches, and they acquire a certain proficiency level in the sport they choose to play, it illuminates a pathway to education that didn’t exist before.This is through admissions into quality schools that provide scholarships to talented athletes, and to prestigious universities that have a provision for sports quotas.Educational attainment is one of the most important ways of breaking cycles of poverty, gender inequality, and creating a gateway towards financial independence.

When girls get access to sports, via training and coaches, and they acquire a certain proficiency level in the sport they choose to play, it illuminates a pathway to education that didn’t exist before.

In addition to increasing educational attainment, sports provide a medium for girls to pursue a non-traditional, alternative career, which can sometimes propel them towards international recognition as well. Many female sportspersons in India, such as GeetaPhogat and Dutee Chand, have broken the glass ceiling for women in India through their respective sports and have become vocal advocates for promoting sports for girls.

But even today, how accessible are sports to girls? More importantly, how wide is the gender gap in sports? The FIFA Women’s World Cup has been making headlines around the world, but perhaps not for the right reasons. Eclipsed by the Indian men’s cricket team’s success in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup, many in India don’t even know that the women’s football world cup is underway. And these are the same Indians who flock to Kolkata’s football clubs every day to play the ‘beautiful game’ and to the Salt Lake Stadium by the thousands to watch Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Eclipsed by the Indian men’s cricket team’s success in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup, many in India don’t even know that the women’s football world cup is underway.

The beautiful game, in fact, is quite ugly. Furor has surrounded the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup because of the gross and utter inequality of the FIFA Federation towards the two genders. To begin with, there exists a $370 million gender gap between the total prize money offered at this year’s Women’s World Cup and last year’s Men’s World Cup.

Below is the infographic provided by Forbes, which not only shows the disparity between the total prize money, but also between the prize money provided to the winner of the world cup. FIFA claims that this egregious disparity comes from the difference in the revenue earned by the two World Cups. But critics don’t buy this claim. They say that FIFA’s revenue books are closed off to

the public and there is no way to validate the veracity of this claim. But even beyond that, why should the revenue pulled by the same organization for two different events be split according to which event pulled more? Why can’t FIFA pool the revenue and split it equally among the two genders?

FIFA, however, is not the only one to blame. Country-wise clubs and football associations are equal perpetrators in this inequality. According to a 2017 article published by Forbes, 1693 female footballers across the top leagues of seven countries receive the same amount of pay as Neymar’s

contract for Paris St-Germain for the 2017-2018 season. In a similar vein, UN Women recently tweeted that Lionel Messi’s annual income was almost twice as much as those 1693 women. Such a disparity is beyond simple inequality; it is disrespectful and dismissive of the effort, talent, and skill of female footballers in the world today.

1693 female footballers across the top leagues of seven countries receive the same amount of pay as Neymar’s contract for Paris St-Germain for the 2017-2018 season.

Beyond prize money and pay gaps, FIFA has been accused a number of times of not investing nearly enough money into promoting football for women around the world, and of not advertising female football enough. So what can be done to rectify this situation? For one, at the behest of PFA and FifPro, both football associations, FIFA has agreed to negotiate to reduce the gender gap post the Women’s World Cup.

At the behest of PFA and FifPro, both football associations, FIFA has agreed to negotiate to reduce the gender gap post the Women’s World Cup.

In addition, national football associations should introduce equal pay for men and women. The United States Women’s Soccer team is fighting a legal battle to ensure equal pay, as they argue that their pay is a violation of the Equal Pay Act. In Norway, the Football Association earlier this year struck an agreement to introduce gender parity among the male and female internationals. National change can help generate the momentum needed to push FIFA towards modifying its own policies.

Sports is perhaps one of the most unequal arenas for women. Given that it can benefit the future of girls everywhere tremendously, it is time that we fought and pushed organizations to become accountable and initiate a positive change towards gender parity for girls.

It is time that we fought and pushed organizations to become accountable and initiate a positive change towards gender parity for girls.

It’s not about reservation; it’s about our rights By Kamya Yadav


With all the talk about reservation for women, and continued headlines surrounding sexual assault and harassment of girls and women alike, let’s ask one simple question first: why do we care? Beyond the fact that all genders are equal and deserve to be treated with equal respect, empirically why should we worry about not having enough female politicians in our country? Research has proven that have more women politicians in legislative bodies improves health and education indicators in a country, with the additional benefit of paving way for more women in politics.

“let’s ask one simple question first: why do we care? Beyond the fact that all genders are equal and deserve to be treated with equal respect, empirically why should we worry about not having enough female politicians in our country?”

A recent paper by Ross Macmillan, Naila Shofia and Wendy Sigle used mortality related data from 155 countries, collected over the span of 24 years. It highlighted that nations with 30 percent or higher female representation, especially those that were lesser developed and weak democracies, experienced significant downturns in four indicators of mortality. These four indicators were neonatal, infant, child, and maternal mortality. India’s mortality rates have generally been higher than the world average, and if there is a direct correlation between having more women in decision-making bodies and improving mortality rates, why shouldn’t we encourage more women in politics?

“nations with 30 percent or higher female representation, especially those that were lesser developed and weak democracies, experienced significant downturns in four indicators of mortality”

In addition to simply have more women in politics, we should try and encourage more women from lower castes to run for elections. Another study by Irma Clots-Figueras showed that female legislators who were elected from seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and Other Backward Classes in India invested more in health, early education and tended to favor the passage of more “women-friendly” laws. Given that the cases of sexual assault and harassment against women and young girls are becoming more and more prevalent every day and that India still lags far behind in achieving gender parity in education, careers or politics, it becomes imperative that we advocate for more women in politics.

Above all this, having more female politicians has a compounding effect on future female representation in legislative bodies. Two different studies, one by Rikhil Bhavnani, and the other by Thushyanthan Baskaran and Zohal Hessami, suggest a similar conclusion: that seats or constituencies that previously had female representatives, are more likely to elect another female representative in the following election. What this tells us is that watching female candidates run, win elections and then act in power changes the mindsets of local communities. Just by seeing more women in power, people become more amenable to the idea of the same. Bhavnani’s study was carried out in India, looking at the electoral data from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, proving that such an effect is produced in our home country.

None of this is to say that India hasn’t made progress. The results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are an indication that not all is stagnant with respect to how this country views women. Association for Democratic Reforms published their analysis of the 17th Lok Sabha elections in which they stated that this parliament will have 77 women members. This number is the highest it has ever been for India. Two major states, Odisha and West Bengal, saw local parties, BJD and TMC respectively, give 33% tickets to female candidates. This action of Chief Ministers Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee has been appreciated and hailed by women around the country. Even apart from the elections, conversations around the Women’s Reservation Bill have constantly remained in mainstream news, reflecting a rising consensus and awareness about the same.

“this parliament will have 77 women members. This number is the highest it has ever been for India. Two major states, Odisha and West Bengalsaw local parties, BJD and TMC respectively, give 33% tickets to female candidates”

So, how do we increase female representation? The first step forward would be to encourage all political parties to field 33% female candidates in local and state elections. If every political party managed to achieve that mark, the number of women MLAs in state legislatures will definitely see a rise. In addition, now that the original Women’s Reservation Bill has lapsed, women’s rights organizations, locals, politicians, and political parties should unite to reignite the call for a new bill. This bill shouldn’t ask for reservation but rather for the rights of women, as political representation is just as much a right as access to education and sanitation in India. But more importantly, as equal stakeholders in the future of the country, the bill should ask for 50 percent reservation, and not 33 percent, for that will be true equality.

“women’s rights organizations, locals, politicians, and political parties should unite to reignite the call for a new bill. This bill shouldn’t ask for reservation but rather for the rights of women, as political representation is just as much a right as access to education and sanitation in India.’

World Economic Forum released a report on the gender gap in various sectors in 2018. According to WEF, the gender gap in politics will take 99 years to bridge. The little girls who are brutally raped don’t have 99 years. The girls who don’t get access to or quality education don’t have 99 years. The women who deserve their share of power in politics, in society, in careers don’t have 99 years. We’ve already waited 23 years, let’s empower our women now.

“We’ve already waited 23 years, let’s empower our women now”

ABORTION *T&C Applied


Anti-abortion laws in America recently, have taken the world by a storm. Abortion has been legal in America since the 1973. Roe v. Wade ruling provided access to safe and legal abortions as a constitutional right. Right from the beginning, anti-abortions groups have continuously attempted to undermine this ruling. In light of this, following Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi and Kentucky, the near total ban in Alabama has been the most extreme and sweeping law that has been passed in recent memory. Challenging the constitution, anti-abortion politicians have, once again, highlighted how women are undermined and not even included in the policy making decisions, especially when the law is about the bodies of the women.

Abortion has been legal in America since the 1973. Roe v. Wade ruling provided access to safe and legal abortions as a constitutional right … the near total ban in Alabama has been the most extreme and sweeping law that has been passed in recent memory.”

The law not only bans all abortion, at any stage of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape, incest or fetal viability, this would also see doctors who perform an abortion facing up to 99 years in prison.

Fact: THIS IS 89 MORE YEARS THAN SOMEONE CONVICTED OF RAPE.

After Alabama, Louisiana and Missouri soon followed with severe bans on abortion after six and eight weeks respectively. In contrast to this drive to ban or heavily limit options for abortion, the Democratic-led states have made a conscious decision to bring abortion to the forefront and make rights, safe abortion avenues and making it more accessible. This year Illinois became the third state, after New York and Vermont, to ensure that abortion remains legal even if the Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade ruling.

The proposition of this bill had more than 500 #StopTheBans demonstrations spearheaded by several abortion rights groups and liberal organizations including American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Women’s March, Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL). Taking the streets with slogans screaming “Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is a right.” The fact that 25 men decided that they can make a law that directly questions not only the democratic rights of the women, but also questions their own understanding of their biology and strips them of planned parenthood entirely, is what the people have been protesting against.

Taking the streets with slogans screaming “Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is a right.” The fact that 25 men decided that they can make a law that directly questions their democratic rights and their own understanding of their biology is what people have been protesting against”

This wave of laws and amendments has forced women to come out and express why it has to be a decision that only they should make, and it has also intrinsically linked abortion to politics and what has become obvious is the lack of women policy makers and a lack of understanding of women’s issues.

Protestors participate in a rally on May 19, 2019 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo: Getty Images)

When you look at India, before 1971, abortion was a criminal offence under Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code, except in cases when it was necessary to save the woman’s live, labelling it as deliberately “causing miscarriage”. After the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill was passed in 1971, this allowed for stipulations such as health risk, possibility of substantial risk of serious physical handicap to the child, rape and risk for the mental health of the woman and made abortion available up to 20 weeks of gestation. Despite this, according to an article by The Lancet Global Health , it is estimated that 15.6 million abortions take place in India every year, and a majority of these are unsafe abortions. Unsafe abortion is the third largest cause of maternal morality leading to the death of 10 women each day. There’s also the fact that even though abortions are supposed to be legal, accessibility wise abortion clinics have been decreasing and in anti-choice states they are often not even covered by state or private health insurance. In India, we also have the stigma attached to abortion, especially when it comes to unmarried and underage women seeking access to safe abortions.

“It is estimated that 15.6 million abortions take place in India every year, and a majority of these are unsafe abortions. Unsafe abortion is the third largest cause of maternal morality leading to the death of 10 women each day.”

Seeing the rise of unsafe abortion seekers and the result, the Government took cognizance of the challenges faced by women and proposed four major amendments to the MTP law:

  • To increase the base of legal MTP providers and ensure better access to safe and legal abortions.
  • To increase the gestation period. This amendment was proposed on the basis that it takes more than the initial 20 weeks for medical practitioners to detect severe fetal abnormalities.
  • Increasing access to legal abortion services for women
  • Changing the indication to include unmarried women and to make more women aware of what MTP rights they have access to.
“Amend the Bill to include increase in abortion clinics, to amend the minimum time of 20 weeks, to make services safe and to provide legal abortions for unmarried women as well”

Despite the proposition of these amendments, the most important point raised was the gestation period. Appealed for by rape and sexual assault victims, this area specially needs amendment because the victims of any kind of sexual abuse might not discover the unwanted pregnancy till 24 weeks at least. Due to this negative aura that has been created around unwanted pregnancies and the idea of abortion as murder,what becomes apparent is the lack of female presence and female’s perspective when it comes to making laws about women’s bodies and their choices in our country. To challenge this notion, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, in his Women’s Sexual, Reproductive and Menstrual Rights Bill, 2018, proposed that instead of being called the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, it should now be known as Legal Termination of Pregnancy Act so there is no mistake of understanding that the woman herself holds autonomy over her body and decisions related to her body. As a first step towards realizing women’s rights and respecting the their choice regarding sexual intercourse, menstrual health and unplanned or forced pregnancies, the Bill raises a strong voice in favor of women’s sexual autonomy, menstrual hygiene and abortion rights. There’s an apparent and glaring divide between men and women, and to have policy makers who will never actually experience the changes of pregnancy, what is needed the most is the inclusion for female policy makers, health care providers and even mobilization to educate as to how unsafe illegal abortions can be.

Due to this negative aura that has been created around unwanted pregnancies and the idea of abortion as murder,what becomes apparent is the lack of female presence and female’s perspective when it comes to making laws about women’s bodies and their choices in our country.

Photo: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(17)30453-9/fulltext

The Disaster of Denmark


With the vision that the world has of Denmark, it comes as a surprise that only one is six Danes consider themselves to be ‘feminists’. This was announced as a result of a poll conducted by YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project of more than 25,000 people in 23 major countries, targeting Denmark as one of the candidates because of its narrow gender pay gap, equal employment rights, and universal nursery care.
In a global survey of attitudes of gender, equal rights for both men and women and the importance and wide-spread reach of the #MeToo movement to come out and encourage women to share their voice and stories of harassment, that Denmark is one of the least feminist countries in the world.

This project was conducted three years after the country’s equality minister and member of the party Venstre, Karen Ellemann, said she did not consider herself to be a feminist. The project also found that only two out of five Danes supported the #MeToo movement and only 4% of men and 8% of women questioned in the survey had a ‘favorable’ view of the #MeToo movement. Some even raised challenges like they believed #MeToo would make men feel constrained in their relationships with women. Sara Phil was noted saying “I think some men are afraid of talking to women at work, in case they get accused of something.”

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