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
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Contact Person / Email Asha Kowtal / asha.kowtal@ncdhr.org.in
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.

Women Security

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.

Customary Law

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.

Women leadership

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.

 

  • WinG is expanding its network and building alliances with likeminded organizations and Networks
  • WinG is gaining ground also at the Local Level through its increased strategic intervention in serious issues.
  • Participation in Special Rapporteur Visit to NE, North and West on violence against women.
  • Regional consultation on customary law & Dalit women held
  • WinG members were part of UNDP delegation at the 8th session of the Open Working Group at NY from 2nd February to 7th February 2014. Member of the WinG Steering Committee made civil society recommendations on Gendered Nature of Armed Conflict, Peace Making and Transitions to Peace in a discussion on Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights in the post-2015 Development Agenda jointly organized by UN Women and UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service. The presentation reflected on concrete recommendations to illustrate why the issue is important to be reflected in the Post-2015 agenda.
  • WinG SC members attended Asia Regional Meeting on Women Peace and Security on 8th and 9th February 2014 in Bangkok, which was jointly organized APWLD, IWRAW-AP and WLPS Cordaid.
  • WinG- Assam organized a Tribunal on Sexual Violence on 8th -9th January, 2014 in Guwahati. There were 20 cases of sexual violence which were presented in front an eminent jury comprising of Human Rights Lawyers, Academicians, Media Persons and Human Rights Activist. There was one case of acid attack which got compensation and justice because of strong advocacy done after tribunal by the WinG-Assam team.
  • . WinG-India members have participated during the presentation of Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women report during the Human Rights Council in Geneva. WinG-India has also conducted a side event during the CEDAW event in Geneva, July 2014. During this phase there will be a research done on the Monitoring of UNSCR 1325 in India. Members of WinG-India will release this report in New York in October, 2014. It is important for WinG-India to represent in these international forums because these issues find no representations from the different human rights and women rights organizations. Along with that there is a complete denial of this form of violence against Dalit women and women from North East India from the government of India. The participation in the international events will help WinG-India in creating visibility of the issue by taking the stories and experiences of women from the grass root level to the international level.
  • In the 4th National Conference held on 26th-27th March in Delhi saw a good participation of women from marginalized communities from different states. There were 300 women who had come for this conference and the participation of these women was extremely good irrespective of the barriers of language and cultures.
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