DSS has organised a Campaign for Gender Equality on the eve of ‘UN Women’, a wing of the United Nations for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, every year call for a widespread campaign of 16 Days Activism against Gender-Based Violence the world over, from 25 November, (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), to 10 December, (Human Rights Day). This Campaign is opportune time to galvanize action to put all efforts towards ending violence against women and girls around the world. DSS took up this 16 days’ activism seriously and conducted sensitization campaigns in the villages and urban centres. To commemorate the international event, the 12th Annual District Conferences of DSS were held on this theme. All the District Conferences were held in the District headquarters of the respective districts. The curtain-raiser event was organized on 25th November at Hyderabad, followed by the districts up to 19th December. Pictorial posters related to violence, discrimination of dalit children in education institutions, bonded labour, liquor, dowry harassment, discrimination of dalit women in NREGA works were designed specifically and displayed during these conferences.
Ravindra Bharathi,Hyderabad District
Campaign was started with a conference on 25th November 2017 at Ravindra Bharathi Conference Hall, Hyderabad on Ending Violence on Dalit Women. Chief Functionaries of various women organizations, selected women collective leaders of DSS from both the states, academicians, advocates etc. participated in the conference to air their views on the subject. The conference was presided over by GDV Prakash- National Program Manager of DSS and the other dignitaries on the dais were Jhansi Geddam, National Convener of DSS; Dr Siddoji Rao, Incharge, SC, ST Officers Forum; Asha Latha - National level leader, MahilaHakkulaVedika; Sudarshan, Associate Professor, Nizam’s College; Sobha, Associate Professor, Government Women’s College.
GDV Prakash, National Program Manager briefed about the campaign and said that the intra and inter community violence against dalit women is on the rise and almost 90% of the dalit women are facing domestic violence. Therefore, DSS has been campaigning since August
August by displaying posters, slogans and organizing awareness meetings etc. He stated that liquor is one of the main reasons for domestic violence apart from patriarchy, gender inequality, dowry etc. He said that both the Telugu states are much dependent on the income from liquor and are striving their best by all means to promote liquor sales. In the rural areas most of the men spend all their earnings for liquor consumption does forcing the responsibility of domestic expenditure on the women apart from harassing them. The state of AP stands on the top in Aids and in 8th position on violence against women. The governments need to work on the root causes, instead of restraining themselves to publicity, advertisements etc. We also need to see that the younger generation doesn’t falls prey to the vicious culture and pornography. Therefore, we all need to build good environment and strive for violence free society.
Ashalatha, a National level leader, instigated her thoughts of women empowerment and development in the meeting with DSS women collectives. She explained that a survey has been conducted in both AP and TS where they had found facts that could be quite useful for the betterment of the livelihood in dalit families. She mentioned that the survey was taken on no. of dalit families with & without own land, and said that the families with an own land were living better lives than others. Financial security and economic empowerment are much needed entities for the development of a community. She also expressed her agony and distrust in the present government which formed the roots for anti-dalit ideology. There was an increased violence and discrimination on dalits for the past three years, which was promoted by this so-called anti- dalit government and idealists. Dalit Sthree Sakthi has taken a brave step in conducting this Gender Campaign during such social conditions, which would stop violence against dalit community and especially on dalit women. DSS would enrich its women collectives with Acts, Rights and Schemes pertaining to their need and necessity.
Sudarshan, Associate Professor, Nizam’s College, made his point clear that development or under-development has nothing to do with violence against women. He said that there are 20 under- developed countries where women are not raped at all and few countries which are high in drug addiction also do not have any traces of violence against women. He mentioned that the mind sets of the people should change on the perspective of gender equality.
The usual perspective of men is to assume that men are strong by birth where as women are beautiful. Men are meant to enjoy women sexually, if not abuse them physically and mentally. Men are compared with strong animals like lion where as women are compared with weak animals like deer. This is present situation of society that we are dealing with. These perspectives ought to change. Unless and until people realize that we are no more animals but human beings who can think, speak and act with common sense, these perspectives of gender based violence wouldn’t stop. It is the duty of academicians, bureaucrats and social organizations to bring out an awareness in the people around us. Dalit Sthree Sakthi has taken a challenging step to eradicate gender based violence thru this Gender Campaign.
Sobha, Associate Professor, Government Women’s College,mentioned about the Domestic Violence Act, which is viewed as judicial terrorism by male chauvinists and is not efficiently
used by women who are victims of domestic violence. She said that Sec 498A of IPC is just a mere Act on papers but has a very tough resistance in the society. Male chauvinists couldn’t digest the fact that they are being punished for domestic violence. They feel that it is their right to hit their wives. On the other hand, women would bear such domestic violence, but would not go against the husband due to social conditions and marital clutches. Even the usage of words is so gender biased as brave, courage, etc relate to men and peace, timid, etc relate to women. There are about two lakhs D V cases registered but very few women have come forward to defend for her rights. DSS has organized this Gender Campaign, which would educate and create awareness amongst the dalit women so that they can fight for their own rights.
Dr Siddoji Rao, In-charge, SC, ST Officers Forum, have clearly spoke about violence and its psychological sense. He said that there are three forms of violence – Physical, Mental and Sexual. Violence can also be justified as positive and negative aspects. There are instances where violence need to be used for achieving justice. Mother uses violence on her children to bring them to the right track. All such sorts of violence considered as positive aspects. One needs to use their brain and start thinking to separate the good from bad. Violence on women is mostly due to the sadistic nature, which wants to derive happiness thru violence. Such sort of negative violence need to be stopped. It is our scientific need to use our brain and start thinking questions pertaining to WHY, HOW and WHERE which would guide us analytically to the solutions of our problems. Gender Campaign by DSS would provide women with such awareness and need to think about the issues faced by women in the present society.
remarriage etc. He also discussed
Vijayawada, Krishna District
A Conference was held on 29th November 2017 at Press Club, Vijayawada on “Ending Violence on Dalit Women”. The conference was presided over by GDV Prakash- National Program Manager of DSS and the other dignitaries on the dais were Jhansi Geddam, National Convener of DSS; Prof. Swaroopa Rani, Acharya Nagarjuna University; Moka Satti Babu, DSP;Rajamani, DICCI, Kiran, General Secretary, APSEB Employees Association.
Prof. Swaroopa Rani, Acharya Nagarjuna University, said that the issue of dalit women are not discussed and it is not priority. In the recent Meeting of International Women Summit dalit women issues were not raised. Ambedkar is the 1st person to raise the voice against the inequality of women, should have equal right in wealth, widow remarriage etc. He also
discussed about dalit women on their vulnerability apart from introducing Hindu Code Bill. Ambedkar has asked dalits to change their life style such as stop eating dead animals and attain self-respect. At this juncture Ambedkar was supported by women and pleaded the dalits to concentrate on education and the women stood as back bone in his movement. Therefore, the children need to know the history of Ambedkar. He also fought against the caste discrimination and the oppression faced by the dalits. He fought for equality, gender equality and for the equality of all irrespective of caste and gender. The dalit women have been facing both inter and intra community violence. She faces violence at work place and at home from all the family members such as brothers, uncles, grandfathers, cousins, father etc. The women at home need to be cautious in examining these things and take necessary precautions.
Moka Satti Babu, DSP, asked how many know about Ambedkar and dalits. He said that government is much bothered about Evanka rather than the issues of the downtrodden dalit women and today out of desperation we started discussing our own issues. The women attend to all the household work, attends to the children & husband and works equivalent to her husband and shares the responsibility of house hold expenditure whereas she is not treated equally. Ambedkar said, we all need to think of the vulnerable communities and against caste discrimination. At our home girl children faced discrimination, they are denied food, face malnutrition, denied education and most of the girl children are dropouts. He said that the example of his birth place, many leaders have hailed from that place with lot of awareness. But, there is lot of discrimination in wages of men and women, the SC men are paid less than BC men, this is prevailing in both urban and rural areas. The dalit men are facing only caste discrimination whereas dalit women face both caste and gender discrimination. The major problem in the rural areas is addiction to liquor and we work for prohibition of liquor. If liquor is prohibited many lives will be changed and can lead a peaceful life. Due to liquor addiction men beat their wives and harass them. On the other hand, we are facing atrocities which are on the rise. As per NCRB, women are being raped every 18
minutes. In order to get rid of all these inequalities we have two ways to choose, one is political power and other is education. Ambedkar was not allowed into the school in those days. But today he is a world class intellectual renowned by Oxford University. Columbia university survey has ranked him as 1st intellectual in the world. We need to gain more knowledge and should be talented and stand strong in the competitive world. In 1942 Ambedkar organized a meeting for women and made many pro women resolutions. About 25000women participated in the meeting. We made many provisions for equality and many other provisions for all including the women in constitution in the form of articles, fundamental rights, directive principles etc.
Rajamani, DICCI, said that Dalit women are facing violence in the house and outside the
house. To overcome this, we need to be well educate well, come into better position than other community people. We also need to become entrepreneurs to change our lives. The Police of Vijayawada has worked out many strategies and created apps for the safety of women and girl children. We need to ensure qualitative education in the schools. Many children are lacking knowledge and talent; hence, they are jobless though having completed PhDs, PGs etc.
Kote Prakash Kumar presented melodious songs against violence on women, child marriages, child labour etc. He said that the drop out rate of girl children from the schools is going up
day by day. He revealed few facts of the drop out situation in Nandigama area of Krishna District and has said that among the drop outs 90% are dalit Adivasis. He said that gender discrimination is one of the main reasons for the drop out of the dalit girl children and therefore, we all need to take the campaign in a big way into the villages and create awareness to the larger civil society.
Campaign was started with a conference on 1st December 2017 at SC Corporation Hall, Guntur on “Ending Violence on Dalit Women”. The conference was presided over by GDV Prakash- National Program Manager of DSS and the other dignitaries on the dais were Jhansi Geddam, National Convener of DSS; Mallikarjuna Rao, Secretary, Tourism department and Joint Director – Social Welfare Department, Guntur District; Sukhajeevan Babu, Project Director, Women & Child Welfare Department; Ankaiah, Advocate;Balaji Naik, Executive Director, SC Corporation;Saritha, Town DSP; Dr A Subrahmanyam, Rtd Dean of Law; Amulyamma& Mary Josphine - State Women Collective leaders.
GDV Prakash explained about the campaign and saying about the Present situation of Dalit women said that the gender disparities are on the rise and within the house the girl children is
being discriminated. He said that on the other side the violence is also on the rise irrespective of caste and has briefed about a four years girl of Dolas Nagar being beaten to death by 2 nine-year-old boys. He stated that the state need to shift its focus towards curtailing the gender disparities and eradicating violence against the women and girl children and it is shameful that our state is on the top competing with other states on violence against women. It is very sad that the state is in the top position of AIDs and every month 3500youth are being identified as HIV positive.
Mallikarjuna Rao, Secretary, Tourism department and Joint Director – Social Welfare Department, Guntur District, during his speech mentioned that the patriarch society is the main reason for the inequality in the society and oppression against women. He recollected
recollected the days when the parliament has rejected the Hindu Code Bill and Ambedkar’s resignation. From then, the world has started thinking about the women and due to Ambedkar’s resignation, the movement has ignited for women rights and their reservation bill. But since then the Women Reservation Bill has not come up or not even discussed. He concluded that DSS should conduct many such campaigns on Gender perspectives and spread Ambedkar’s ideology of women.
Sukhajeevan Babu, Project Director, Women & Child Welfare Department, have taken the example of ancient Indus valley civilization where women were worshipped and respected.
Even the surnames were of women which says that they led the society then. The history says the women were respected, but now the situation is different. Women are treated unequally and discriminated in all respects due to Brahmanical mind sets. Manu Dharma Sastra was burnt by Ambedkar in front of Parliament, which was the basic root for down bringing of women. Dalit women are not educated and illiteracy is very high, similarly impunity with in the country is also a reason. Since they are socially, economically and educationally backward, they are unable to utilize the reservations to the optimum level. In the villages if we one asks to send their children for schools they would question who would feed and reimburse the loss. Thereforehe urged the parents not to think in terms of money and send their children for education.
Ankaiah, Advocate, said that the inequality has been institutionalised, therefore, dalits are being denied to economic and other resources apart from atrocities and discrimination. Dalits are being denied justice in all aspects. Until and unless the women are educated the development of the community is at stake. Women need to come on to the forefront in education, business, jobs, politics, education etc. The Manu Dharma Sastra in the country with an institution to deny women her rights have rejected Hindu Code Bill. The governments or the rulers are depriving us many things which are to be given as per the constitution. We need to walk the talk during all these aspects.
Balaji Naik, Executive Director, SC Corporation said that Sthree Sakthi Spurthi scheme was initiated by SC Corporation recently. The word dalit is a very broad word and today dalits are facing oppression in all aspects. The women in other communities are very sharp who could
keep men aside and deal with many things. He quoted examples mentioning the difference between dalit women and non-dalit women. Dalit women are always in fear because of our culture, social backwardness which have led to the oppressions and injustice. Therefore, dalit women need to overcome all such aspects and come into the mainstream. He shared his experience as ITDA - PD in Srisailam, where the Chenchu(ST) women who care for their husband way out of imaginations. The dalit communities never think about their future, whereas the other communities think about the future. Dalit women are very skilful and powerful. Recently, a politician thought of occupying the lands of tribal people when tribal women led a movement against the politicians and got back their lands. Hence Women need to fight continuously for their rights and justice.
Saritha, Town DSPsaid that the history says freedom and liberty are not necessary for women. The history also says that women have led many movements and need to be respected equally. Positive discrimination, protection and welfare schemes are good, Acts are also good, we all need to think that where does the fault lies. Whoever speaks during PWD, etc says many things about the changes to be brought among the women. We say about the
protection, empowerment and sustainability. The youth think that smoking, drinking, rash driving is empowerment. She said that her habit of visit educational institutions, talk to students and enlighten them. The empowerment means where one can take or will be able to think properly to take a decision. Dressing like a man is not development, developing habits like men is not empowerment. Education is very important, education means gaining a knowledge with values. Education means treating equally, respecting others, raising voice against injustice having moral values. We need to be self-sustained, stand on our own, earn together alongwith husband. Once we stand on our own we will become independent and think on our own. Women always try to blame others, whereas we need to think and protect ourselves. Health is much important and we need to have good health. We should never be depressed when other comment us, be confident have the power (physical & mental).
Dr A Subrahmanyam, Rtd Dean of Lawsaid that the United Nations has declared 25th
November as Orange Day with an intention to end all inequalities against women, similarly, 10th December is celebrated as Human Rights Day to discuss on these issues to bring a change in the society. He took the example of his mother who was a very well-educated lady and sent all her four daughters to education. This led to the upbringing of his entire family. He reminded the need to think about the values and with the changing scenario how are we treating girl child.
Jhansi Geddam concluded the meeting remembering Ambedkar who wept many times for the pitiable situation of women and their inability to think about their vulnerability.