Literacy, foeticide, malnutrition - issues galore for women leadersJanuary 8th, 2009 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) It may seem like a small change but Shakuntala Devi’s fight against the change in a widow’s surname - from Devi to Kunwar - in Bihar is an issue big enough to strive for. A widow herself and having gone through the experience, she knows what she is talking about.“When the Bihar government granted me financial assistance, the cheque came in the name of Shakuntala Kunwar, but I wanted to open my bank account with Devi as my surname,” said the feisty Shakuntala, who was in the capital for a workshop of the Hunger Project.
“After a lot of persuasion, the bank manager finally agreed to let me retain Devi as my surname. This gave me the confidence that I can resist any change that is being forced upon me, so what if I am a widow?”
One of the 47 women who were selected by Hunger Project’s initiative, Aagaz Academies, for Transformative Leadership, Shakuntala was in Delhi to present her research project - Condition of Single Women - for which she was awarded a fellowship.
Khushboon Khatoon, who also hails from Bihar, said her research project on domestic violence was again an issue close to her heart.
Carrying out a survey in 1,500 households in five villages of her Panchayat, Khatoon found that cases of domestic violence which either led women to escape to their parents’ homes or get abandoned, and even driving some to commit suicide, were aplenty.
“I started visiting the homes of women facing problems in their marriage. Reasoning with the woman’s in-laws, bringing up some matters in front of the Panchayat and motivating couples to get a marriage certificate within a month of their wedding have helped a lot.
“Moreover, when people come to know that I got the fellowship from Delhi especially to end domestic violence, most got scared and resolved their problems by themselves,” Khatoon said.
The one year long fellowship programme, which got over at the end of 2008, aims at helping women representatives build their own perspective, increase accountability and understand their potential in dealing with various issues.
Therefore, if child malnutrition was an important issue for Sakhubai Rathod of Nashik, it was women’s property rights for Meera Devi of Bihar. For Shobha Patil it was literacy for women, while for Madhumalini of Bangalore it was hygienic waste management.
The fellowship, which came into being February 2007, is given to chosen elected representatives.
- Sons, daughters-in-law arrested for parading widowed mother half naked - Aug 24, 2012
- Rajasthan suicides: Four community panchayat members held - Apr 24, 2010
- Women panchayat members take oath as Ahimsa messengers - Oct 01, 2009
- Four barred from civic polls in Bihar - Apr 11, 2012
- Bihar's silent revolution: 30,000 women now own land - Jan 19, 2011
- Meeting Obama was memorable experience for woman panchayat leader (Second Lead) - Nov 09, 2010
- Richa Chaddha's finances in place thanks to new projects - Jul 08, 2012
- Hunger drives widow to commit suicide in Bihar - Mar 04, 2010
- At 75, she wants her dowry back - Jun 03, 2011
- Haryana twin murder: Weapons not traced - Apr 21, 2011
- Rights panels urged to probe Bihar police assault on women - Sep 17, 2011
- Bihar's women give thumbs up to Nitish Kumar - Nov 24, 2010
- Meeting Obama was proud experience for woman panchayat leader (Lead) - Nov 09, 2010
- Woman panchayat leader shares experience with Obama - Nov 09, 2010
- Empowering rural women to fight for their rights (Feature) - Apr 27, 2012