ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Women's Charter for the 16th Lok Sabha Elections - 2014

We, the women of India, feel that the outcome of these elections will greatly impact women’s struggles for safety, equality and progress. On behalf of crores of women from diverse sections of society from rural and urban areas, across the length and breadth of our country, we wish to draw public attention to the issues that have affected women in recent times. The concerns highlighted here need to become part of the mainstream political agenda in the forthcoming elections and in future government policy to ensure equality and dignity for the women of this country across social groups. 

Death in Police Custody

Abdul Kafi, Abhijit Bhattacharya, Abhijit Kundu, Aditi Ghosh, Amitava Chakraborty, Amitava Pal, Anindya Datta, Anirban Kundu, Anup Sinha, Apurba Kumar Chattopadhyay, Archana Prasad, Arijit Chaudhuri, Arindam Banerjee, Arun Jana, Asimananda Goswami, Aurnab Ghose, Ayesha Kidwai, Bhupen Sarmah, Bijay Bal, Binayak Dutta-Roy, Biswajit Haldar, Channa Basavaiah, Chirashree Dasgupta, Debabrata Pal, Debi Prasad Mishra, Debnarayan Jana, Dinesh Abrol, Dipak Kesh, Dwaipayan Bhattacharya, G Arunima, Gautam Gangopadhyay, Gautam Gupta, Guruprasad Kar, Himansu Charan Sadangi, Indraneel dasgupta, Indu Agnihotri, Ishita Mukhopadhyay, Janaky Sreedharan, Jayati Das, Jayeeta Sharma, Jyoti Sabharwal, Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya, Kaberi Chakraborty, Kamales Bhaumik, Kandarpa Das, Kaushik Bhattacharya, Kuntal Ghosh, M Rajivlochan, Mahalaya Chatterjee, Maitreyee Nandy, Maitreyee Saha Sarkar, Malabika Das Gupta, Manas Ray, Mritiunjoy Mohanty, Padmanava Basu, Parthapratim Pal, Parthasarathi Bhaumik, Parthiba Basu, Pradip K Mahapatra, Pranab Sarkar, Rahul Roy, Rajni Palriwala, Rajyeswar Sinha, Ranjeeta Dutta, Ratan Khasnobis, S Anandhi, Samantak Das, Sanjukta Ganguly, Saswata Bhattacharya, Satyabrata Chakraborty, Saumyajit Bhattacharya, Selvyn Jussy, Shantanu De Roy, Sharmistha Banerjee, Sharmistha Sen, Shaswati Mazumdar, Shibani Chaudhury, Subimal Sen, Subrata Pal, Sucharita Sen, Suchetana Chattopadhyay, Sudipta Bandyopadhyay, Sudipta Bhattacharya, Sukanta Bhattacharya, Sukhendu Sekhar Sarkar, Sumangala Damodaran, Sumit Kumar Baruya, Surajit Das, Surajit Mazumdar, Surajit Mukhopadhyay, Sushil Khanna, Taposik Banerjee, V K Ramachandran, Vamsi Vakulabharanam.

We have watched with disgust and horror the brutal police assault on students during a peaceful demonstration organised by four Left students’ organisations on 2 April 2013 in Kolkata and the subsequent death of Sudipta Gupta, a participant in the demonstration, while in police custody.

Migration and Gender in India

This paper presents a sketch of the key findings of a research project on Gender and Migration at the Centre for Women's Development Studies. The results of a series of primary surveys conducted between 2009 and 2011 across 20 states have been consolidated to present a summary meso-level view of types of migration, patterns of female labour migration, conditions of work and civic life of women migrant workers. The sectoral composition of paid migrant workers based on the latest available migration survey by the National Sample Survey Office is presented for contextual background, alongside a critical interrogation of the official data's gender insensitive concepts. Rising rates of marriage migration juxtaposed against falling female work participation rates and the spread of dowry are also touched upon.

The Importance of Being Lakshmi Sahgal

Captain Lakshmi's death saw glowing tributes paid to her in the media, even as this was denied in the near past to other such towering women involved in the women's movement since Independence. What was it about her that evoked such admiration? 

More on Land Rights for Women

More on Land Rights for Women Indu Agnihotri IN her long rejoinder to my review (EPW, March 8) of her book, Bina Agarwal has chosen to adopt an extremely vituperative tone bordering on a vicious personal attack (EPW, June 8). Notwithstanding her citation of long extracts from her book, the central questions raised in the review remain unanswered. To set the record straight, I shall reiterate some of these.

Bringing Land Rights Centre-Stage

Bringing Land Rights Centre-Stage Indu Agnihotri A Field of One's Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia by Bina Agarwal; Cambridge University Press, 1994; pp 572, Rs 395.

Evolving a Women s Agenda-Report from Beijing

Evolving a Women's Agenda Report from Beijing Indu Agnihotri IN the history of world conferences on women, the Beijing meet stands out for its reassertion that women's struggles are integral to the mounting challenge to the existing world order, and that women's issues could not be segregated from larger issues related to development. It is also clear that women's struggles in various countries are not disaggregated and dissipated. Beijing and Huairou reaffirmed the vitality of the movement. At the same time the perspective of groups which advocated even issue-based initiatives made the connections with the global reality clear. While the U'N document assumed this reality to be a given, there were serious contestations of this given' order from women in the developing countries. In this way participants challenged the feasibility of the draft document directives in addressing fundamental problems given its explicit endorsement of the current process of globalisation at the behest of the World Bank-IMF. This was tantamount to a challenge to the developmental model being pushed by the G-7 nations. The official conference was also witness loan attempt at the consolidation of the G-77 grouping. This was compelled by the shift of political forces from the last world meet in 1985 in Nairobi where the emphasis was clearly apolitical, a reflection of the complacency of the NAM alignment and the confidence of the first world. With the collapse of the socialist bloc it became clear that the struggle for women's rights was up against political forces which were pushing the agenda in favour of fundamentalism and tearing out of context the very goals sought to be achieved. At Nairobi a clear attempt was made to deflect attention from a systemic perspective of issues focusing instead in a fragmented and ineffectual way on particular manifestations of women's oppression. Gender sensitisation and training was being bandied as a panacea while it became clear that the movement itself did not set the agenda. In Beijing, the initiative rested clearly with the movement. The failure of the developed countries to cope with the crises in world capitalism was brought out by pointed critiques of the gamut of liberalisation strategies and trade agreements from within the developed world itself, drawing attention to the effects of the 'dismantling' of the welfare state. This provided the backdrop to a consolidated critique from the perspective of the international women's movement. 'It showed the relevance of the international political context in the framing of any meaningful women's agenda, rather than it being based merely on biologically based sisterhood. This is not to understate the domination of the advanced west in the international political configuration which was apparent right from the preparatory stage of the conference and in the selective nature of accreditation given to NGOs. Here the influence of the donor agencies was clear. The first world dominated in terms of the presence of their governments and in the say that the first world based donor agencies had in deciding who went to Beijing. The gap between the aspirations articulated by the movement and the commitments governments were willing to make remained, nevertheless.

Changing Terms of Political Discourse

The revolutionary changes which followed the two world wars created for a and structures that promoted debates on women's rights. By the beginning of the 1990s however, the international context in which the struggle for the advance of women's rights was being waged had been transformed. Debates being actively promoted today twist the very premises and values on which the movement had been based. It is against the background of these developments which have influenced the women's movement in India that one must evaluate the goals and directions of the movement and locate its strengths and weaknesses.

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