Women in Governance-India
|Organisation name||Women in Governance(WinG-India)-India|
|Address||National Secretariat, 8/1, 3rd Floor, South Patel Nagar, Delhi, India India|
|Contact Person / Email||Asha Kowtal / firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Related activities on women, peace and security||Women in Governance – India (WinG-India) is a unique network of women who are striving to be agents of change in a world dominated by patriarchal traditions. WinG chose to bring in Dalit women (erstwhile untouchables) and women affected by conflict, in Northeast India and other parts of the country. The members of WinG-India represent marginalized communities across India and work towards promoting leadership within local governance. Conceived in 2009, WinG-India is now emerging as a strong network within civil society in India by raising issues of women-security and governance at various national and international forums. Key focus areas of the network include women security (with focus on the implementation of UNSCR 1325), exploring customary laws and their impact on women’s lives.
WinG believes that the concept of Human Security needs to be reexamined from the perspective of women. The reason for this is that women have always been kept out of the so called security domains but have remained the worst affected. It is now time that women come together, collectively engage and unravel the real meaning of personal security. This is possible only if women leaders build a critical consciousness and enter into decision-making bodies. This entails a process by which affected women and those who represent the affected have the capacity to influence policies and legislations that affect them.
WinG India has decided to further explore these areas and build a strategic plan on Human Security and Peace building. To take this further, WinG commissioned a study which analyzed the current security issues of women in India within a human rights framework. The study confirmed what WinG has always believed, that in all security related decision-making processes and institutions women remain on the margins despite the fact that they are major stakeholders in all security-related decision. Therefore, WinG has mandated itself to correct this situation by creating spaces for women in security-related institutions and decision-making processes and by bringing women to the negotiating table during peace talks.
Many tribal communities in the North East India continue to regulate themselves according to their customary laws (CL) which are considered to be part and parcel of their culture and tradition. Though each tribe has its own unique set of customary laws, many of them share some commonalities, the most important being their patriarchal nature denying women their rights of inheritance, child custody, decision making, etc. With the modernization of customary institutions an issue being discussed today is the codification of customary laws to suit the demand of gender equality. However, this discussion is fraught with many challenges.
For women, customary laws and institutions have advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, customary laws may be easily accessible and speedier for rural women and enjoy greater social legitimacy in local communities. On the other hand, customary institutions are often gender biased in composition, orientation and dispensation of justice. Very often, they are constituted by male elders alone and apply male-biased interpretation of laws. In India, the customary institutions have a tendency to exclude women from the decision-making processes. The Indian constitution, while guaranteeing the protection of women’s rights, also recognizes customary laws. Therefore, the working group on Customary Laws has been taking on this complex issue and building its own understanding and collective understanding before engaging in advocacy and action on the codification of customary laws.
The main task is to generate cultural perspectives and practices to bring an attitudinal change in the victims of socio-cultural injustice, especially Tribals and Dalits. The cultural action will help to shake off the inferiority complex and psychological trauma they have developed over centuries of suppression and subjugation.