Folk art shows how women fought for their rights


Mau (Uttar Pradesh): A large number of rural women used folk art to show how they had fought for National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), public distribution system (PDS), regularization of gram sabhas and issues like untouchability and violence against them.

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Lauding the efforts of the women drawn from several parts of the male-dominated eastern Uttar Pradesh, Mau district Chief Development Officer B.L. Verma said: “Women empowerment was central to Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy.”

He stressed upon the need to take the programme of “Empowering Rural Women”, to every corner of Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing the closing ceremony of the two-day regional conference here, Nayana Chowdhury representing Sir Dorabji Tata Trust said: “There is a culture of silence in eastern Uttar Pradesh because of which the women there are an invisible workforce. This campaign of empowerment has enabled them to break this silence and made them aware of their rights and entitlements.”

Around 378 women leaders from the nine districts of the state took oath to increase the membership of their respective Nari Sanghs from 40,000 to 100,000. They also vowed to include issues like domestic violence in their programmes along with their demands for the right to health, education, food, work and participation in gram sabhas.

The programme that started in December 2007 with six small grants is currently being implemented in 253 Gram Panchayats of 10 districts of eastern UP.

A total of 24,756 Nari Sangh women activated open meetings of gram sabhas.

Women in the Nari Sanghs have made considerable progress in the building of relationships with the local administration. The block and the district level administrative officials were also cooperating and recognizing the Nari Sanghs contribution in the entire work area.

Women in these areas are taking independent initiatives in the form of addressing issues such as alcoholism and violence against women.