Unifying the heterogeneity to collectively pursue a shared vision fighting for equal rights for women
An inspiring and lively training on grassroots leadership was organized by our member, SWADHINA, in Kalkuta, India. Diverse participants and presenters coming from different castes, states and other backgrounds took part in the training. It was a good opportunity for participants to learn and share experiences from one another. It allowed them to have a better understanding of what type of leadership can be exercised at a practical level, especially when it comes to women’s land rights.
The training touched on two main aspects: basic understanding of leadership and the challenging aspect of grassroots leadership related to women’s land rights. It is challenging to be grassroots leaders fighting for women’s land rights. Negative labelling and stigmatisation from the wider community are very common thus, it requires a persistent character to lead and fight for women’s land rights especially in social settings where traditions encourage the subordination of women in many respects.
In relation to leadership and women’s land rights, participants identified four major issues: effective leadership affecting women’s land rights, forest rights and it’s impact on women, 'land of commons' as a process of collective empowerment of women, the loopholes in land laws affecting women’s empowerment process. These four issues intersect with one another in many different ways. For example, women, especially in the context of India, are discriminated against owning commons land and forest. Even when these issues are stipulated in the existing law, the law itself is a loophole in some aspects and is unenforceable. Hence, participants agreed that these four issues should be addressed integrally rather than partially.
The participants also gained invaluable experiences from presenters coming from Asia and had a better look at women’s rights tool developed by ILC. While all presenters from Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia presented their topic under a shared umbrella, movement and land rights for women, they placed different emphasis on strategy and approach and socio-political shape on this process.
This training tried to unify and unite the heterogeneity of participants and provided room for them to collectively pursue a shared vision; fighting for equal rights for women.
News source by SWADHINA
Photo by ILC Asia