By Anugraha Hadke:
Refusing to be shunned as an ‘inauspicious widow’, Munni Devi is an active member of her village’s theatre group that holds street plays to start conversations on women’s issues. She works on plays that talk about domestic violence, dowry, widowhood, and more.
Munni is one of over 40 crore women living in the rural areas of India, almost all of whom contribute to the economy in some way or the other. And while her’s is a story of empowerment, many are still unaware of the rights they are entitled to because of which they put up with abuse, do not own land, and have little or no say in decisions about their lives.
In such a situation, setting up women’s organisations and working with support groups creates an important environment to spread awareness among women. But the key is to find a way to push them to take an active part in the development and daily processes around them, and to make them confident enough to realise that they have the option to speak up for themselves.
Now, in the form of self-help groups and village committees set up by Pradan, with Jagori and UN Women in 9 districts across 4 states, these women are being reminded of the potential they have always had.
Bhagwati Bai, is now a member of her village’s Zila Panchayat. Like her, with just the right kind of motivation, women are now not only demanding what is rightfully theirs but also stepping up to take leadership roles. “The women who weren’t even allowed to go out by themselves, are now going till Delhi to register as candidates for elections.”
Watch how these organisations are contributing to their incredible journey of empowerment.