Welcome to our Website
Over the past few years women's issues have emerged as the focal point
of Prayatn's activities. The following background information about
women in India highlights some of our major concerns:
In the last 100 years, sex ratio has declined from 972 to 933 women for
every 1000 men in India. According to the 2001 Census, Rajasthan has a
sex ratio of only 922. Female infanticide, selective abortions of female
foetuses, and neglect of girls' health and nutritional needs are among
the reasons for this gender gap.
In India, one woman dies every five minutes from a pregnancy-related
cause. These include unsafe delivery practices, inadequate nutrition,
early marriage and pregnancy, a lack of control over fertility and lack
of access to water, sanitation and healthcare.
Only 44% of women in Rajasthan can read and write. Of the few girls who
are enrolled in schools, over 60% drop out before completing their first
5 years of education. Reasons include early marriage, restrictions to
their mobility imposed by their families and the difficulty of freeing
their time from household tasks and income-generating activities.
Violence against women is on the rise, with rape, dowry death and
torture by husbands and in-laws showing the highest rate of growth in
Rajasthan. Every 34 minutes, a woman is raped in India. Every 26
minutes, a woman is molested. Every 42 minutes a sexual harassment
incident occurs. And every 93 minutes, a woman is killed by her in-laws
because of dowry disputes.
Women are still being excluded from local governance despite legislation
that reserves them one third of seats in the village panchayats (local
councils). They have been forced to take a back seat in decision-making
processes, such that their voices are still going unheard.
Very few women in Rajasthan are involved in making decisions about their
personal lives. Less than half have access to money in the household or
make their own decisions about their health care. Most women need
permission before they can leave the house to go to market or visit a
friend or relative.
Girls and women in India face nutritional discrimination within the
family, eating last and least. As a result, more than 90% of adolescent
girls and 50% of women are anaemic. Anaemia stunts children's growth and
is a leading cause of maternal death and babies with low birth weight.
More than 80% of women in Rajasthan aged 25-49 were married before the
age of 18. Even though the legal minimum age for marriage is 18, this
law is seldom enforced.
Women are paid 40%-70% less wages than men who do the same work as them.
In no state in India do men and women earn the same wage.
Our society has prescribed specific roles and boundaries for women and
it expects - nay - demands that the women play these roles with perfect
acquiescence and devotion to the men who are the masters. Religion,
culture, education are all various tools used by the society for the
perpetration of this unjust value system which accords to the women the
status of secondary citizens with no right over their lives. These
values are handed down over the centuries over generations, in ways very
Today we are becoming increasingly conscious of this reality of women,
and women's development figures very much in our discussions and plans.
But do these plans and programmes really help in liberating women from
their centuries-old subjugation? These programmes more often than not,
get trapped in project cycles and women's development gets reduced to
just another programme. The eventual outcome of such programmes is to
reinforce the women more strongly into the traditional moulds.
A change to this state of affairs can come only when the women
themselves become aware of their servitude and the structures of
society, which constantly cage them in, keep them dependent and
freightened; while their destinies are being determined by somebody
else. Change can come only when the women acknowledge themselves as
equal citizens having equal rights to life and over the resources of the
earth as anyone else. Change can come only when the women remodel their
roles and act with this new conviction.
It is in this context that Prayatn gears its efforts, complemented with
its past experiences and perspectives, towards the future with a broader
outlook which includes structural changes and new programmatic
Our Response for the Future
Against the backdrop of the present scenario and the perceived
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats Prayatn's journey into
the future appears to be at once a formidable task and a risky path,
which we cannot afford to leave to the posterity. The onus of
responsibility is on us today to recast our strategy for the future and
accordingly restructure our organizational outfit to an alternative
society in which all people may live in dignity, peace and harmony. We
seek to build people, identifying and tapping their human potential to
the full and capacitating them to play their legitimate role in the
social fabric. Our reference group shall continue to be the
marginalized, and women in particular, who will need to be empowered to
exercise their rights and responsibilities in society and to plan and
control their own development.
In this process Prayatn, in addition to the existing involvement, will
also work in the following specific areas.
Training & Capacity Building
We will be involved in training and accompanying grassroots level
workers through our constituencies. People's organizations and other for
we already are working with will be grouped into a common platform for
alternative development for whom we continue to provide our training
inputs through regular ToT programmes and accompany them in their field
activities. Through fresh interventions, similar groups will be
identified and developed who will undergo intensive capacity building
People's Advocacy through Networking
Besides Prayatn's existing groups, there are other groups and
organizations who see the need for working in solidarity for common
issues in given geographical locations. These groups will be given
systematic training and equipped with the skills of community
organizations and collective actions both at the micro and macro levels.
These will be helped to establish linkages with other similar groups and
constitute regional federations to play a "reformist" policy by:
Conscientising the people on the current social, economic and political
trends and organizing them for collective actions;
Voicing the concerns of the poor and the marginaised (currently women
specific) and lobbying with the policy makers and planners for relevant
social and economic measures that will create a just social order;
Promoting the people's groups towards greater self-reliance, using their
own traditional wisdom, knowledge and skills and enabling them to become
the owners and controllers of their development.
Research and Documentation
We are convinced that field actions warrant setting up a unit for
constant inflow of information, systematic documentation, analysis and
reporting through monographs, booklets and periodicals not only in
English but in the regional language as well. With rapid social changes,
affecting the life style of people at all level, we need to maintain our
data bank by which we would study the trends, stimulate healthy debates
and exchange of views and help people with formulating appropriate
collective responses. Besides, we would also study the Policies, Acts
and other Programmes pursued by the Administration in order to analyse
its effectiveness in favour of the constituencies.
With this renewed thinking we plan to evolve ourselves into an
organization with renewed commitment to our Vision and Mission even as
we prepare ourselves for the challenges of the current century.