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Women are the losers in a society with such deeply engrained patriarchal
attitudes. Powerless, marginalized and vulnerable, they face
discrimination and violence at the hands of the community and their
family, and are deprived of even the most basic human rights.
Neglect of the girl child is commonplace here. Girls are denied the same
food, healthcare and education given to boys, as a result of which they
have a much slimmer chance of survival. A girl in Rajasthan is three
times more likely to die before her fifth birthday than is a boy, even
though medical research has long shown that girls are generally
biologically stronger as newborns than boys.
Life doesn't get any easier for a typical Rajasthani girl as she gets
older. Married long before she is an adult, she has no control over her
fertility and faces a high risk of early pregnancy, at the end of which
she and her child may not survive. With hardly any money in her name she
is unable to make her own decisions about her healthcare, nutrition, and
the well being of her children. She not only works long hours in the
fields but also has to do all of the housework with no help from her
husband. She must fetch fuel and water (both of which are often several
kilometres walk away), cook, clean and care for her family. If she fails
in any of these tasks or performs them too slowly, it is likely that her
husband will beat her.
Every year the police record more and more incidences of violence
against women - everything from wife beating and mental torture to rape,
witch-hunts and dowry deaths. Countless other cases go unreported, with
women suffering in silence behind closed doors. What's more, many
females in Rajasthan fall prey to violence even before they are born. In
a society where girls are seen as a strain on scarce resources because
of the crippling expense of paying dowry for their marriage, some
families take tragic steps - either killing their newborn daughters, or
selectively aborting female foetuses. These all too frequent occurrences
are major causes of the low sex ratio in Rajasthan, where there are only
922 women for every 1000 men.
To bring about change in the attitudes and behaviour of people towards
gender equity and equality.
To create a mass movement to prevent sex selective foeticide and
To encourage the government to form policies and laws which reduce
gender discrimination and increase women's participation in
To study, examine and analyze the implementation of various policies and
acts in favour of women, and to advocate more effective delivery by the
To support community groups and promote advocacy efforts to fight
violence against women.
To initiate community-based programmes which promote the
socio-economic-political and cultural empowerment of women.
1. Programme to address the declining sex ratio
Rapport-building with communities to put Prayatn in a position to tackle
sensitive issues relating to gender discrimination.
Training and workshops for men, women and children on gender equality
and the rights of the girl child.
Organizing women's groups to provide an opportunity to develop skills in
leadership, marketing, alternative health care and negotiations with
Development of a cadre base of women activists (called 'Balika Sathi' -
Friends of the girl child) to take up the cause of gender
Establishment of resource centres in villages, providing information
about reproductive health, gender equality and women's legal rights.
Alliance-building with like-minded organizations and individuals.
2. Programme to stop violence against women
Women's groups set up in over one hundred villages to support victims of
violence and campaign for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Training programmes for group leaders on women's rights and laws against
Facilitating a network of women's groups so that women can share
information and experiences and strengthen their negotiating power.
Capacity-building of the Balika Sathi women activists, with training
sessions covering topics such as leadership skills, community
organization and campaign planning.
Life skills workshops for adolescent girls to increase their confidence
and work towards a dignified existence in society.
Village forums for adolescent boys, with the aim of creating a more
positive attitude towards women and the girl child among future
Village meetings organized with men to sensitize them to women's issues
and to encourage them to take a pro-active role in changing the
attitudes of their peers towards women.
Rallies against alcoholism - a major cause of domestic violence.
3. Capacity Building of Women Groups
The insights gathered from the programme to stop violence against women
helped us to identify the areas where the groups working on violence
against women needed support and capacity building. These were:
Addressing and Reducing Domestic Violence
Combating female feticide and PCPNDT Act
Addressing HIV/AIDS related issues
Understanding the Panchayati Raj System
Gender Just Budgeting
The capacity building inputs emphasized on building up of knowledge base
of the issue; evolving community based strategies to address the issue
and development of action plan and measurable goals.
4. Training Programme for Assistant Public Prosecutors
A large number of Public Prosecutors lack gender sensitivity in in-depth
analysis of cases related to women which is reflected in their
expression of legal arguments, reasoning and conclusions. The training
programme by PRAYATN is the first comprehensive training of Public
Prosecutors on latest legal developments, gender issues, laws and
interactions with various stakeholder agencies.
The core objectives of the training are:
Gender sensitization focusing on appreciating problems faced by women in
rape trials, recognizing the inadequacy of law in providing adequate
relief in cases of crime against women, controlling court interaction
that prejudice the victim and spreading legal provisions regarding crime
Enabling Public Prosecutors to coordinate with police, medical jurists,
forensic experts and litigants etc;
Till now ten training courses have been facilitated in the various
districts/ divisions of Rajasthan.
5. Micro Credit Groups
Prayatn believes that women's lack of access to cash and loans is an
important reason for their low status in society. With this in mind, we
have facilitated the establishment of self-help groups for women.
The groups set up joint savings schemes and decide collectively how much
money they will put aside from their incomes, to whom they will make
loans and for what purpose. Women learn how to manage funds, assume
leadership and develop collective strategies to change their lives. The
financial independence they gain from their husbands increases their
self-esteem and helps create more respectful relations between them and