Dr. Ranjana Kumari
As I look back to the last three months and our fight for relevant and pertinent changes for women, what needs to be reiterated is that our mission to empower women connects us regionally, nationally and globally because there is not a place in the world where women have not experienced discrimination or violence, and so any action that we take with the right intentions has a positive ripple effect which will ultimately benefit all of us.
In recognition with our dedicated work in addressing the harmful practices of prenatal sex selection and female foeticide in 5 districts of Haryana, Centre for Social Research was chosen as the nodal agency by the Government of India when the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao program was first launched. From there onwards, we have organized trainings, mobilizations and government engagement to establish 4 Community Watch Groups in each district.
A natural progression from education, we’ve also extensively worked to increase girl participation in sports and promote capacity-building and personality development through it. Our sports programme in collaboration with Australian Aid was initiated to empower young girls in these 5 Gender-Critical districts of Haryana.
At CSR, we strive towards building women’s skills, economic development, equal opportunities in sports, the right to education, promote women leadership and the link between women and climate change because we see that women have the power to change the world.
This year, under our Women Skills Development initiative, we continued to promote non-traditional livelihoods for women with Security Guards and Office Assistants Program. Our Office Assistants Program was launched in July in collaboration with German Embassy and after the conclusion of the program, I was very happy to see the successful placements of our trainees for both the programs. A special case was Effat, who found out about this program through our Crisis Intervention Centre and eagerly joined our training program right after school because she wanted to achieve economic independence just like the men in her family.
This quarter, we also witnessed the Global Climate Strike where people, especially the youth of our world, across 4,500 different locations and 150 countries took to the streets to demand global action for their future. The need of the hour today is to prevent climate change and the global impact of the depletion of our water resources. We’ve identified the close relationship that women have with water, considering they are made responsible for water chores and how climate change affects them more drastically compared to men.
Keeping this in mind, our Gender, Water and Climate Change project to enhance women’s leadership capacity in water conservation and to find women-inclusive solutions for the climate crisis, has led to an expansion from Elected Women Representative’s to Self-Help Groups, Government officials and other community members as well. Considering water scarcity has become glaringly obvious and 21 cities in India are projected to run out of water by 2020, I want to urge everyone to think about the climate change crisis and understand that there is no Planet B.
This year, even though our dedication towards women’s rights and political participation achieved the highest number of women MP’s, we continued our advocacy in Chennai, Calcutta and Mumbai and continue to garner more support through our signature campaign for the Women’s Reservation Bill. In our last consultation, we completed 50,000 signatures and continue to receive more every day.
In the last few years, what has become evident is that digital media and taking our activism online is critical. Personally, and with our social media for social change, we want more conscientious and responsible users to come online and use this democratic space to express themselves fearlessly. I am happy to share that CSR was selected to be a part of The Due Diligence Project, in collaboration with UN Women, in undertaking a research study on the online violence against women.
As we approach the end of another year, it is inevitable that we become a part of this fight and understand that all societies are made of all genders and every single gender has a right to live their life with respect, rights and dignity. We have to create a global network and carry forward our agenda collectively, with men and women standing together to support gender equality and empowerment.