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.
Hemalatha, District Coordinator of DSS concluded the meeting with a vote of thanks and has thanked all the dignitaries, media and women collective members.
Kakinada, East Godavari District
Dalit Sthree Sakthi has organized a conference on 8th December 2017 at Officers Club,
Collectorate, Kakinada 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; George Babu from DICCI; Nageswara Rao, DRO;Venkateswara Rao, DSP; Jaya Babu from Industries Department; Sujatha - State Women Collective leader.
George Babu from DICCI said that we need to be financially disciplined, gain trust of the financial organization and become entrepreneurs. He said that Stand Up India have enabled us more access to financial assistance through banks.
Nageswara Rao, District Revenue Officer said that DSS has been striving hard to curtail
violence. He briefed many constitutional provisions such as Articles, Laws, reservations etc to curtail violence. He briefed about the Panchayat Raj Act and said that because of reservations many women have become the elected representatives of Panchayat Raj. Similarly, dalit women have various Acts, commissions to look after her protection and therefore they need to use all the avenues to the optimum level and come onto the mainstream.
Venkateswara Rao, DSP, felt happy to be present in the meeting. He said that the entire society need to react on the incidents of violence. He gave an example about a cow which
was always stopping a particular bus which has hit her calf. And another example when one inspector saw an accident and went away without responding. Later in the evening he come to know that it was his son who met with the accident. Therefore, whatever it may be or whoever it maybe we all need to respond to every situation in our lives. He narrated an incident where an accused killed a girl whom he sexually exploited. The accused was later arrested because of the agitation done by women organizations at the Collectorate. We need to change our mindset, perception, improve our lives, check our children, get them educated and settle them in lives. We need to sacrifice for the sake of families and settle at least our children, so that they will lead a peaceful life.
Jaya Babu from Industries Departmentsaying that the situation of dalit women in South India is better compared to that of the North India. He mentioned the need to improve the living conditions of dalit families, bring change in the lives of dalit men and see that family is leading a peaceful life. There are specific departments in the form of SWD and SC Corporation for the betterment of dalits. We also need to send our children to schools for education and see that they pursue higher education.
Eluru, West Godavari District
Dalit Sthree Sakthi has organized a Conference on 12th November 2017 at Jabilli Conference Hall, Eluru 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; Sudarshan, President, Mulnivasi Sangh Teachers Federation; Sudhakar member of DICCI.
Jhansi Geddam, during her speech, explained the core reason for the meeting is to equip dalit women as leading entrepreneurs. Economic empowerment of dalit women is the much-
needed aspect of the hour in the present society. She also mentioned that there are crores of funds in the SC corporation which are being sent back since they aren’t utilized. The reason for not utilizing is lack of awareness among dalit communities and lack of proper guidance and the non-cooperation of banks in giving loans. Dalit Sthree Sakthi has started working with DICCI for helping dalit entrepreneurs to set up business thru these funds. Dalit women should aim towards establishing such entrepreneurship which would develop the community as a whole. Dalit men who work as daily labour earn more than women, who illustrate equal strength and capability in terms of work. But dalit women play the key role in saving the money for the livelihood of the families. Hence, the thinking that women cannot be entrepreneurs should be erased in the society and encouragement should be provided for dalit women to grow as entrepreneurs. Dalit Sthree Sakthi aims at this single point agenda in both the states. Despite of available funds, encouragement and other possible ways to make dalit women as entrepreneurs the major drawback that dalit communities face is its leaders itself. The caste and community leaders themselves exploit the people who are being benefitted with these schemes. The community lacks unity. Individual thinking has become nuclear that one wishes to grow, but doesn’t help others to grow. According to Ambedkar’s ideology, as long as one’s thinking is constrained to individual development, there will be no growth. Developing as a community ensures individual growth, which is the right way towards a better future.
BethalaSudarshan appreciated DSS for campaigning on gender equality in both the states and said that it is the need of the hour. He mentioned that in the entire world, there would be inequality with respect to gender. But India is the only country where discrimination and inequality is showed in two forms: one thru caste based inequality and the other being gender based inequality. He took examples of Islam, where a man can marry 4 women and Hinduism
where it is allowedto discriminate women. In the matriarchic society women are considered to be the leading person in individual families. When the attacks on women started, when women are suppressed on various aspects of life, that is when our society started depleting. Ambedkar has clearly mentioned the fact that women development shall be the measure for the development of the society. When Ambedkar visited the Godavari districts during his reign, everyone followed him. But now, his ideology is left behind and we have become puppets in the hands of dominant caste leaders who promote discrimination on us. He concluded mentioning that we have become the vote bank of people who supress us, instead of establishing our own political power. The main aim of Dalits is to gain and establish political and constitutional power.
Sudhakar from DICCI, mentioned few facts of what has been happening inside the
government regarding the misuse of SCSP/TSP funds. He said that 14 Innova cars that have been sanctioned thru Industries Department out of which 7 were benami’s. This sort of misuse should be stopped and the actual needy should be promoted. DICCI has promoted 3000 entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams. Usually, Dalits face a hard time to acquire loans due to lack of friendly relationship with bankers. DICCI acts as a bridge to ensure the
friendly relationship between the customer and bank which ensures sanctioning of loan. Stand Up India is intended to promote sanctioning of loans to Dalit and women up to 1 crore. He concluded that we need to have a goal and act towards achieving it thru hard work. This ensures economic development to individuals as well as to the community. He stressed that dalit communities lack unity and positive thinking which stops us from helping each other. When this perspective changes, the development would be inevitable.
Chevella, Rangareddy District
Campaign was concluded with a conference on 19th December 2017 at Ambedkar Bhavan
Chevella on “Ending Violence on Dalit Women”. The conference was presided over by Baghya Laxmi – DSS, and the dignitaries on the dais were Jhansi Geddam, National Convener of DSS; GDV Prakash- National Program Manager of DSS; Nushitha, Representative of SC Development Department; Narasimha representative of DRDA; Lakshmi & Kalpana Women Collective Leaders.
GDV Prakash,detailing about the objective of the meeting and enthusiastically energised the crowd with slogans. He initially questioned the women who came to the meeting regarding domestic violence and where is it mostly prevalent. He said that men and women should be treated equal in all aspects and no discrimination should be shown on women.
But what happens in the practical world is complete opposite of what has to happen. To eradicate such gender biased outlook, Dalit Sthree Sakthi has organised this Gender campaign along with officials. He provided useful statistics like 90% of dalit women are facing domestic violence and mentioned few examples of the cases that DSS has dealt with. He said that alcohol consumption is the main reason for domestic violence in dalit families. He concluded that irrespective of caste, women are discriminated in all aspects, but dalit women are discriminated based on caste also. Hence there is a strong need to create awareness and educate them towards development.
Nushitha, Representative of SC Development Department said that she is very happy to see Dalit Sthree Sakthi organizing a campaign on gender based discrimination. Usually, there
would be meetings held after an incident or atrocity, but it is very rare to see such a campaign to create awareness. She strongly believed that any problem could be solved when everyone fights against it unitedly.
Lakshmi& Kalpana Women Collective Leaders, said that this campaign had been very useful for them to know about their Acts and rights. It is a known fact that dalit women face discrimination inside the house and outside too. But very few educate on how to face such situation and act accordingly with legal and social consciousness. Dalit Sthree Sakthi has enriched the lives of dalit women with an educative campaign.
NarasimhaRao, representative of DRDA, said that the development of villages is keenly possible if dalits play a prominent role in village / mandal / district level meetings. He also suggested that domestic violence could be stopped by creating awareness and trainings. He appreciated Dalit Sthree Sakthi for organizing a Gender Campaign to create such awareness. He also mentioned that unity among dalit women could solve most of their issues.
Jhansi Geddam, speaking lastly, said that the main reason for violence against women is because of lack of awareness of cause. Dalit women lack knowledge about their Acts, rights and schemes. They had been living in those dark corners without education and awareness
for years which made them prone to violence. It is not the officials who should change, but ourselves, our leaders, our thinking, our way of living. Unless these change, our lives wouldn’t change. There are funds which are exclusively dedicated to our development. But unless we have awareness and knowledge to access them, no official could help us. The government need notdistribute sarees, refrigerators or TV’s or else it need not celebrate Batukamma or Bonaalu spending crores of rupees. It should build good schools for our children and provide qualitative education. Our children are not acquiring quality education. This is the reason they are staying jobless even after completion of their studies with degrees, post-graduation and professional qualifications in their hands. We need to be aware of SC/ST Acts to demand our rights and schemes in every aspect of our life. She concluded providing facts about entrepreneurship, other schemes thru which the lives of dalit women could get better. She mentioned that the Gender Campaign mainly aims at eradication of discrimination on dalit women and promoting them as entrepreneurs towards self-sustenance.