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Include women in governance agenda: Women's Charter Against Poverty

Mar 11, 2008

To mark the International Women's Day, Indian anti-poverty network Wada Na Todo Abhiyan has released a report highlighting the recommendations of the Women's Tribunal Against Poverty held in October last year. The charter against poverty reinforces the demand for women's access to power, resources and services.

International Women’s Day is being celebrated by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, an Indian anti-poverty campaign, across 44 districts in eleven states of India (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh).

International Women’s Day is being celebrated by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, an Indian anti-poverty campaign, across 44 districts in eleven states of India (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh).

More than 10,000 women from these states will come together to release the Women’s Charter Against Poverty (see below) and a report (see below) from 6th to 17th March, 2008.

The Charter highlights key themes such as right to work & livelihoods, food security, public services & infrastructure, land & housing and inclusion & participation.

The Women’s Tribunal was one of four such initiatives organised in Peru, Egypt, North America and India to draw the attention of policy makers worldwide to women's priorities and their integral role in any effort to end Poverty & Exclusion.

In India, the Tribunal was held in New Delhi on October 17, 2007 – World Day for Eradication of Poverty.

The idea

The Women’s Tribunal was conceived as an opportunity for grassroots women leaders across the country to come together and make a strong statement on the experiences of women who face acute social and economic discrimination – including dalits, denotified & nomadic tribes, adivasis, forest dwellers, Muslim minorities, women with disabilities and single women.

About 400 women from 20 states presented their experiences, testimonies and petitions as part of this effort. The event saw the involvement of distinguished panel of jurists, academia, trade unions, and national networks.

The Tribunal also met Indian President, Pratibha Patil and briefed her on the discussions and recommendations of the deliberations.

Women Tribunal's delegation with the President, Pratibha Patil

The Jury comprised of Annie Raja, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), Dr. Gopal Guru, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Kamla Bhasin, SANGAT, Nikhil Dey, MKSS, Dr. Rose Kerketta, Ranchi University, Dr. Rosemary Dzuvichu, Nagaland University, Dr. Ruth Manorama, National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO), Dr. Sheba George, Wahr Saru Women’s Action Resource Centre.

Recommendations

Based on the testimonies provided, the Jury provided an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages experienced by women in relation to existing policies and programs, and pointed towards the policy agenda and social actions required to achieve women’s entitlements.

The Jury recognised the recent initiatives made by the government to address some of women’s concerns like gender budgeting.

But it also found the government guilty of failing to mainstream women’s agenda across its policies, programs and processes; and also for neglecting to disaggregate the needs of women in relation to the socio-economic-political realities of different marginalised groups.

The Jury recommended that the government must realise and recognise women as a powerful social, economic and political force in the country and integrate their interests in all aspects of governance and development.

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