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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
With over 40 years of experience in individual advancement and female empowerment, Centre for Social Research, in collaboration with Honda Two Wheelers, launched its Women’s Security Guard Training Program in the Mini Secretariat, Gurugram, on 29th October 2018.
The impacts of climate change are most dramatically felt through changes in water – changes that will severely affect humans, society, and the environment (IPCC 2013, 2014). A policy brief prepared by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) notes that more than 90 percent of climate manifestations…
“It is a powerful story of courage and resilience.”- Director Of UN Women who was there to release the film.
The film lead to an extremely engaging discussion by the international community-
US, Taiwan, Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Canada, India, South America and representatives of the African subcontinent among many others.
We are extremely encouraged by appreciation and the demand of many to further screen and share the film!
Access is Empowerment – Narratives of Indian Women
Event Host – Center for Social Research (CSR)
Come watch our film about how digital empowerent has changed the lives of Indian women!!!
Feel free to join our dynamic open forum discussion after the film screening!!!
Venue: 8th Floor, Church Centre for the United Nations
Date: 12th March 2019
Time: 18:15 hrs
Duration: 1 Hour
Through establishment of Community Watch Groups and Committees against Sex Selection, CSR created systems that can monitor communities’ sex-selection activities and raise awareness about related issues. The main objective of Community watch groups (CWGs) is to conduct an initial interaction between community members and Anganwadi workers. The CWG setup aims for quarterly engagement with the community members to evaluate changes in the Child Sex Ratio and to monitor the Sex-Selective activities taking place in the village.
On 28th January, the CSR team conducted the CWG meeting at Rawalon village in Ambala-1 Block of Ambala district, Haryana. The meeting was held at the anganwadi center with the help of the Anganwadi supervisor; Mrs. Chandrakanta. Rawalon village has a child sex ratio of 167 per 1000 boys. Approximately 100 people joined the meeting alongwith Sarpanch; Mr. Daljeet Singh and Anganwadi workers. The CSR team provided them with informative brochures along with the various governments’ schemes designed to benefit the future of a girl child in Haryana.
The event gathered a lot of attention of the audience. Towards the end of the program a little girl from the audience called Harmandeep Kaur also recited poetry in Hindi on BBBP. The poem indicated that one should not differentiate between a girl and boy; rather both should be given equal opportunities.
CSR being the nodel agency for implementing Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Program conducts the PRI training program which aims for advocacy for Government Engagement at the Village and District Level in addressing BBBP. As part of the advocacy program, CSR works with Elected Representatives at Panchayat level to ensure setting up of Gudda/Guddi board, with grassroots level health workers such as Asha Bahu and Angadwadi for pregnancy registration, institutional birthing on quarterly basis.
On 30th January, the CSR team conducted the Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) training program at Panchayat Bhawan, Kurukshetra. Kurukshetra on “National Girl Child Day”, that is, 24th January 2019 was awarded under BBBP for their work in PC/PNDT activities. The training program was presided by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO); Dr. S.S. Malha, District program officer (DPO); Meena Kapoor, Nodal officer of PC/PNDT Act and Deputy Civil Surgeon; Dr. R.K. Sahai and District Child Protection Officer (DCPO); Indu Sharma.
The PRI members for the training program were the members of the Panchayat of these villages. The objective of the training program was to make the PRI members aware about their multi-pronged roles and responsibilities under BBBP particularly involving the” Guddi-Gudda” boards, their regular maintenance and up-date, nutritional intake for girl children, preventing child-marriage and early marriage issues at their village level. For the PRI meeting the following villages were identified based on the list shared by Dr. R.K.Sahai: Helwa, Bilochpur, Azmatpur, SainaSadan, Barachpur, Bhaller, Birmangoli, BargatShahpur, Daulatpur, Khaspur, Jirbari, Khararsi, Narkatari, Dodakheri, Hingakheri, Machrolli, Bibipur, Padlu, Basantpur, Nairaingarh.