Empowerment of Women in India

Empowering women in India in respect of their own potential for change has already achieved a great deal.

In India, one of the greatest social experiments of our time is going on: In 1992 the Indian government passed a law to delegate political power and resources in rural areas more frequently to bodies of local self-government, the so-called “panchayats”.

Female Quota in the Panchayats

In particular, it was determined that at least one third of the panchayat delegates have to be women. This is a revolutionary step that has far-reaching consequences. For centuries women’s lives have been characterized by lack of power, malnutrition and lacking education, but now, for the first time, they have at their disposal, at least in principle, the mandate and the political influence to fight for their concerns together with the other villagers and to mobilize government resources for these causes.

The realization of this law in practice is a great challenge. Deep-rooted, patriarchal and feudal structures frequently stand in the way. Moreover, it takes some time for women to grow into their new role. It is, for instance, a new experience for Indian women to raise their voices at a political meeting – this takes courage.

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Support of the Elected Delegates

In a world dominated by men there are small chances for these women in the panchayats to accomplish their concerns, - for instance better nutrition, education, health, pure water, measures to secure an income - without appropriate training and support.

The Hunger Project attaches great importance to the participation in decision-making of these over one million women in politics on a regional and

nationwide level. We consider this to be a decisive step in the struggle against chronic hunger and poverty.

The Four Cornerstones of The Hunger Project in India

Therefore, The Hunger Project concentrates on empowering women in India in the bodies of local self-government, the panchayats.
This work has four strategic cornerstones:

  • Die women´s Leadership Workshops * The women’s Leadership Workshops for the elected women in the villages aim at strengthening their leadership skills and supporting them continuously.
  • Establishment of alliances of action, cooperation and partnership with other organizations that have similar goals.
  • Intensified and better media coverage by the annual presentation of the Sarojini-Naidu-Award for the best coverage about the successes of the women delegates in the panchayats.
  • Mobilization of international support by the Hunger Project investors.

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"For me, the Hunger Project means a continuous opportunity to feel and express the solidarity and partnership with the people who live in extreme poverty in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Over the years, huge potential has been released in me and my partners in the affected countries – resulting in sustainable improvements in the quality of life for all."

Dr. iur. Daniel Heini, board member, has been supporting THP for more than 20 years

The Hunger Project Switzerland, Blumenweg 6B, CH-5300 Turgi
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