Dalit Sthree Sakthi organized a conference on “Shramika Sthreelu – Sadhikaratha” on the eve of International Women’s Day at Rotary Club in Amalapuram, East Godavari district on 8th March 2014. Rajamani – District Coordinator of DSS presided over the meeting. Sri PSN Murthy was the chief guest and the other dignitaries on the dais were Jhansi Geddam-Convener of DSS, GDV Prakash-Program Manager of DSS, Susanna-State Co-ordinator of DSS, Bhagyalakshmi Coordinator of DSS, advocates Devadeevena, Petta Ambedkar, Malleswara Rao and Women Collectives of DSS participated in the meeting.
Sri Rajamani in her inaugural speech briefed about the significance of International Women’s Day and the objective of the program. She reminded the words of Ambedkar that the society which excludes women does not come into evolution and illustrated the difficulties being faced by women in the society.
Sri GDV Prakash said that about 100 years ago, the labor women who used to work for 16 hours had struggled and succeeded in reducing their working hours. That is the reason we celebrate International Women’s Day during 8th March of every year. We are the agriculture
workers and should attain empowerment. We did many movements for our empowerment as a result of which we achieved some Acts. For example DSS worked a lot for NREGA and many people are getting work under this Act. Similarly SCSP/TSP Act is the first ever economic right which is introduced in AP in our country. Likewise we have SC/ST (PoA) Act
and Domestic Violence Act. We should use all these Acts properly for our empowerment.
Sri Malleswara Rao - Advocate said that there is a proverb that says the society where woman is devoted will be blessed all mighty. But now the situation is quite opposite. Violence against women is increasing day by day. The victims in atrocity cases are coming forward but the cases are being misguided by some selfish leaders.
Sri Petta Ambedkar- Advocate expressed in his speech that it is clear that the women are facing violence in various forms. We should stop it through movements. One should worship Dr. BR Ambedkar more than any God. If only we follow Ambedkar ideology, we can achieve progress.
Bhagyalakshmi in her speech greeted everyone for celebrating International Women’s Day and said that we all should think deeply about what all we are listening in the program. We all should work together from the village level to the state level for our empowerment and growth.
Susanna greeted regarding the occasion and said that usually the dominant caste women celebrate the International Women’s Day in pubs and some will be busy in other activities like Fashion shows, Rangoli competitions etc. The empowerment is not something which could be gained by being engaged with such activities. You all have gathered here to gain some knowledge which means that you are stepping towards the empowerment. Earlier we at least used to concentrate on what is happening around us but now we are limited to our houses watching TVs etc. We should at least now travel towards development by changing our thoughts.
PSN Murthy stated that everyone certifies themselves as if they are the Dalit Tigers but Jhansi Geddam is a live example for what a real Dalit Tiger is. He said that the words
“Shramika Sthreelu” mean the women who work as laborers. “You all are the Shramik women and how authoritative you are on the money you earn? If you earn Rs. 400/- who will decide about what the money is to be spent for? How many of you have value for your decisions in your family issues” he asked.
He said that the culture to be accountable to your husband or your son in your families should be changed. Women should be authoritative. Here it means to be responsible. There is a difference between love and responsibility. The family where the woman leads will grow more. Only those who have the authority will be considered as the strongest. We can face the strongest of the strong male when we have the decision making power. Usually when someone asks us about our wealth we immediately remember our son or our daughter. But actually there is no world if there is no woman. Ask your sons to work hard and make your daughters well educated. If you really want to be authoritative and powerful you have to get your daughters educated. He reminded that Ambedkar used to say that one should have higher education and higher employment. The only two things which are ruling this world are Education and Money. Hence if only we get our daughters educated well, the nation will be ours. He finally expressed that the society will get into progress only when women become well educated, stronger and authoritative.
Jhansi Geddam started her speech with a song “Biddalu kanna Thallulara” and said that today is the most significant day for women. This day is as important as 14th April. Today is the day when about 105 years ago, the Shramik women like us who used to work day and night fought for their rights and got the working hours reduced. Make your children know about the importance of this day and we should celebrate it like a festival. She put several questions to the women present in the meeting like “Why are we wasting our time and hard work? Why are we living such kind of lives in our families? Why should we live in the same way as our mothers and sisters lived even after so much of change in the society according to the era? Is the progress we achieved is really a progress we have to achieve or is there anything else to
be achieved? Is there any difference between the progresses of so called upper caste women and dalit women? Do Dalit women receive equal respect with dominant caste women in all the aspects in the society? Why there is a difference between dalit organizations and non-dalit organizations? What to do when we do not respect within the family? Why did we start the journey of this movement? How far we succeeded? Why do we lack knowledge so badly? and asked them to think about all these issues. “We should exhume out this situation and gain knowledge” she said. she said.
She also said that we are wasting our lives by sitting before the evil (Television) in our houses. We don’t receive respect even from our children, our neighbors and how could we expect it
from the dominant community? Most of us do not wish to gain knowledge. We believe that others are causing harm to our community but we ourselves are actually causing damage by fighting with each other internally. Caste based organizations should strive to get a change in this society. We should know our position and role in this unequal society and should rigorously discuss on our problems and issues. Change is possible only when we all strive integrated for the cause. Later the meeting was concluded with vote of thanks by Rajamani.