Photo credit: ntui.org
Labour Rights

How Women Garment Workers Took On A Global Clothing Giant And Won Their Rights

On 24 October, 2020, 1300 women garment workers of  Euro Clothing Company– 2 (ECC-2) of a unit of Gokaldas Exports in Srirangapatna, in Mandya district of Karnataka won a major victory for women’s labour rights. The women workers of the factory who had been laid off in the middle of the pandemic in June last year, were finally paid their dues of nearly 45 lakh rupees by the company. The factory which supplies nearly 60% of cotton clothing to 25 billion dollar global apparel giant H&M, violated the  Industrial Disputes Act 1947, Gratituary Bonus Act as well as the  Ministry of

Photo Credit: Deccan Chronicle
Labour Rights

Poor Wages, No Social Security Hurt Women Beedi Workers

“I have been rolling beedis since I was fifteen. Our whole community is dependent on the profession. Our employers underpay us, our pension never arrives without a struggle and the state is oblivious to our condition- where do we go from here?” said Aysha Begum, a Beedi worker  from Sengottai in Tenkasi district of Tamil Nadu. Aysha is  now the sole breadwinner for her family of five after her  husband was left incapacitated to work due to a heart ailement. Even after rolling 500 beedis a day, she earns Rs 150, barely allowing her to make ends meet. About 71% of beedi

Photo Credit: Leaflet.in
Analysis

Transgender Persons Invisible In India’s Prisons

Transgender persons in India’s prison systems  remain invisible among all the vulnerable groups, with their rights and dignity as citizens denied, according to a new report “Lost Identity: Transgender Persons Inside Prisons” by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and  University of Dundee.Take the case of Ishu, a transwoman, who was incarcerated when she was 19 in  Bengaluru Central Prison on charges of attempted murder and abduction in 2017. Inside the prison, she developed a serious infection after a breast augmentation surgery a few months prior to her arrest. Her situation worsened as the prison officials administered generic painkillers. She

Analysis

Menstrual Interventions Vary Across Countries; Still A Long Way To Go

As India announced one of the harshest lockdowns in the world, among the many groups that remained invisible in the government policy announcements were menstruating persons. Hygiene essentials for menstruating persons were missed out in the essentials list of items and services announced by the government. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in an affidavit filed in the Bombay High Court in response to a petition seeking that sanitary products be declared an essential commodity, said such a decision could only be taken after due process of assessing the demand and supply gap. Disposable pads were added to

Women cane cutters in Maharashtra, who work for 12-14 hours a day and suffer violation of their basic rights. Photo courtesy: groundxero.in

Labour Rights

Cost Of Sugar: Women Cane Cutters In Maharashtra

Neeta (name changed), a cane cutter in one of the many sugarcane farms in Beed district of central Maharashtra, was only in her early 30s when she was forced to undergo a hysterectomy.Her menstrual period was a difficult one with severe pain in her abdomen that lasted several days. Her flow was heavy and she also had severe itching and foul odour in her vagina. On the fields where she worked, there was no place for her to change the basic cloth pads she used during her menstrual period. After months of unbearable pain, Neeta decided to forfeit a day’s

Women farmers in Punjab protesting against the Farm Bills in Patiala. Photo Credit: Scroll.in

Analysis

How Farm Acts Affect Women In Agriculture

On 27 September 2020,  three Farm Bills became law after receiving presidential assent.The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 , Farming Produce, Trade, Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020,collectively referred to  as the Farm Bills were earlier passed  in both houses of the Parliament on 20 September  and 22 September  respectively.  Despite repeated requests  from the opposition to send the Bills to a Parliamentary Committee for scrutiny, the bills were passed through a voice vote.The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services

Laxmi Kaurav (in brown) and 21 more ASHA workers in Madhya Pradesh have been served with a show cause notice threatening termination of service after they staged protests at the chief minister’s election rallies.

Labour Rights

ASHA Workers Criminalised For Fighting For Their Rights

India’s frontline women health workers, or ASHAs, play a critical role in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. But when they demanded better pay, protective gear and fixed tenures, Haryana and Delhi filed police cases and Madhya Pradesh threatened dismissal. We chronicle the criminalisation of their dissent.New Delhi/Bhopal: Laxmi Kaurav, 38, an ASHA sahiyogini (facilitator) in Mehgaon Block of Bhind district in Madhya Pradesh (MP) was shocked when she looked at the messages on her phone on the morning of 19 September 2020: A “show-cause notice” with her name was circulating on a whatsapp group of ASHA workers.Issued by the Block Medical

Sonam Dolma, the leader of Kaza Mahila Mandal in Spiti Valley submitting a petition to the ADM to drop the FIR against the women who protested against the state’s agriculture minister, Ramlal Markhanda. Photo Credit: Himshi Singh
Adivasi Rights

Women Criminalised For Protecting Spiti Valley

For the past 6 months, Sonam Dolma (29) along with 15 women, has stood guard at the entrance gate everyday in Kaza town- the gateway to the Spiti valley- in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh (HP). The aim of the women of this small vulnerable hill region with a population of 12,445 ( as per 2011 census) to protect themselves from the risk of Covid-19 infection from outsiders. 72% of Spiti’s population is Scheduled Tribes.These women,  who are part of the Kaza Mahila Mandal (Kaza Women’s group), monitor every vehicle and person who comes into Kaza and ensure that

Photo credit: Sightsavers International
COVID-19

Women With Disabilities Invisibile In Covid Policy Responses

“My bhabhi is pregnant but has no place to deliver. We are scared of catching Covid. We’re still facing the (basic) challenges. The biggest challenge for women with disabilities during the Covid pandemic is employment.  I am myself divorced and have 2 kids to look after. We can’t even approach others for help”, said Anuradha Pareekh Executive Director of Sajag Divyang Seva Samiti, a disability rights  group during the webinar  on women with disabilities and Covid-19 crisis in India.“My disabled sister and her husband, who are tailors,  are earning much less. In such precarious times, disability that makes it worse.”,

Adivasi women in Chattisgarh demanding that District Mineral Fund be provided directly to the communities affected. Photo Credit: Savita Rath
Adivasi Rights

How the Government Diluted Forest Rights Of Adivasis during Lockdown

Policy decisions for forest diversion during the COVID19 lockdown  which potentially dilute the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) and undermine the decision-making authority of the Gram Sabhas have become a major issue faced by Adivasi and forest dwelling communities.FRA requires the completion of the recognition and vesting of forest rights and obtaining free prior informed consent of Gram Sabhas before diversion of forest lands. This is  specified in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC)’s own 2009 guidelines ,  the Forest Conservation Rules (2016), and also upheld by the Supreme Court in the landmark Niyamgiri judgement (2013).An analysis

Adivasi Rights

How the Government Diluted Forest Rights Of Adivasis during Lockdown

Policy decisions for forest diversion during the COVID19 lockdown which potentially dilute the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) and undermine the decision-making authority of the Gram Sabhas have become a major issue faced by Adivasi and forest-dwelling communities. FRA requires the completion of the recognition and vesting of forest rights and obtaining free prior informed consent of Gram Sabhas before diversion of forest lands. This is specified in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC)’s own 2009 guidelines,  the Forest Conservation Rules (2016), and also upheld by the Supreme Court in the landmark Niyamgiri judgement (2013). Large scale, particularly highly

Women garment workers at Gokuldas factory, suppliers for global clothing giant H&M protesting against illegal layoffs during the pandemic. Photo credit: The Quint
Labour Rights

Garment Workers Take On Global Clothing Giant

For over a month now, over 600 women garment workers have been sitting in protest against the illegal layoffs in the factory premises of the  ECC 2 unit of Gokaldas Exports Limited (GE), in the town of Srirangapatna- 126 kms from Bengaluru in Karnataka.On 6 June 2020, Gokaldas Exports which manufactures 70% of their clothing for the 25 billion dollar transnational corporation  H&M, laid off around 1400 women garment workers in the middle of a pandemic depriving them of their only source of income. GE has not paid the workers their full wages for the lockdown in violation of the

Anna Kujur, a tribal rights leader from Sundergarh district, Odisha Photo credit: Better India and Samvaad.
Adivasi Rights

We Fought For Our Right To Our Land With A FistFul Of Rice

Anna Kujur (53) is a fearless Adivasi leader from the Sundergarh district of Odisha. Sundergarh is a predominantly tribal district in north-west Odisha where over half the population is Adivasis, who depend on forest produce and agriculture for their livelihood.Since 2002, Anna di ( a revered term for older sister) as she is popularly known in Odisha,  has organised the Adivasis in the district under the Athkosia Adivasi Sangathan. She has  helped over 30,000 Adivasis realise their claims to land and forest rights under the Forest Rights Act,2006. She has managed to do all with very meagre resources, with the

Adivasi women collecting Siali leaves from the forest in Bamandagarh village, Jamankira block, Sambalpur District, Odisha. Photo courtesy: Ipsita Behera, Vasundhara
Adivasi Rights

COVID-19 : Adivasi and Forest Dwelling Women Face The Brunt

Socio-cultural values and norms have traditionally excluded women from participation in community decision making fora and denied them equal inheritance and property rights, both under formal and customary laws. The Forest Rights Act 2006 is among the few progressive laws which attempt to undo this historical injustice by mainstreaming gender equality in the recognition of forest rights.These are testimonies of women of Adivasi and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), Traditional Forest Dwellers and Pastoral communities of the impact of lockdown on their lives and livelihood.Some of these women reside within forests where they have tenurial security, others are resisting harassment

Adivasi women protecting their forests from CAMPA plantation in Pidormaha village in Kandhamal district, Odisha. Photo courtesy: Archana Soreng
Adivasi Rights

COVID-19 : Adivasi and Forest Dwelling Women Face The Brunt

Socio-cultural values and norms have traditionally excluded women from participation in community decision making fora and denied them equal inheritance and property rights, both under formal and customary laws. The Forest Rights Act 2006 is among the few progressive laws which attempt to undo this historical injustice by mainstreaming gender equality in the recognition of forest rights.These are testimonies of women of Adivasi and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), Traditional Forest Dwellers and Pastoral communities of the impact of lockdown on their lives and livelihood.Some of these women reside within forests where they have tenurial security, others are resisting harassment

Adivasi Women from the Banabahini Utpadaka Gosthi Collective, Sambalpur District, Odisha Photo courtesy: Ipsita Behera, Vasundhara

Adivasi Rights

A double blow for Adivasi Women Collectives

” We are unable to sell Mahul flowers in the market due to the lockdown. Lockdown has taken our  livelihood away”, said Baijanti Kalo of Bamandagarh village  in Jamankira Block of Sambalpur District in Odisha. “ We can only eat rice and salt now. But there is no money to buy salt even”, she said in despair.The lockdown imposed by the government of India to contain the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the livelihood of marginalized forest dwellers, especially women like Baijanti of Kondh tribe,  who depend on minor forest produce (MFP) for their livelihood. The minor forest produce that Adivasi women

Elizabeth Xavier (left) an ASHA worker of Kurichi gram panchayat in Kottayam district of Kerala. ASHA workers in Kerala play a central role in Covid-19 response in the state but are demanding the status of workers.

COVID-19

ASHAs Within the ‘Kerala Model’ Lead Covid-19 Response, Get Little in Return

Our 16-state survey found that in Kerala, ASHAs, women health workers at the frontlines of India’s resistance to Covid-19, feel empowered and respected. Yet, their demands of being treated as a regularised workforce are ignored New Delhi/Kottayam (Kerala): “In the Covid-19 resistance, we are as active as doctors and nurses,” said Rajini Laiju, an woman health worker, or ASHA, from Kurichy gram panchayat in Kerala’s Changanaserry tehsil in the district of Kottayam. “Even though we are the least paid among everyone else on the Covid-19 team, our role is primary and important. This gives us immense satisfaction.”The upper limit of

Minara Begum (right), an ASHA worker from Assam. ASHAs in Assam have not been paid their regular honorariums for the last 3 months.

COVID-19

Promised, Mostly Never Paid: Rs 1,000 Covid Wage To Million Health Workers

Hyderabad: Minara Begum, 33, has reached breaking point. “If the government of Assam does not release my salary today, my kids will starve,” said the mother of four, her voice choked with emotion. “I have done many dharnas (protests) and agitatiations in the past. Now I am literally begging the government to send my money.” Her youngest son is two-years old.Minara Begum, is an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) working in Assam’s eastern district of Kamrup Metro, one of a national volunteer cadre of over one million women health workers who serve as a crucial interface between India’s community and

COVID-19

10 लाख स्वास्थ्य कर्मियों को 1000 रुपये की ‘कोविड सैलरी’: वादे ज्यादातर पूरे नहीं हुए

असम की रहने वालीं 33 साल की मीनारा बेगम चार बच्चों की मां हैं. उनका सबसे छोटा बेटा दो साल का है. वह रोते हुए कहती हैं कि अगर असम सरकार मेरी सैलरी आज नहीं देती है तो मेरे बच्चे भूखे मरेंगे. इसके लिए पहले मैंने कई धरने और आंदोलन किए हैं, लेकिन अब मैं सचमुच अपने पैसे के लिए सरकार से भीख मांग रही हूं.मीनारा बेगम एक मान्यता प्राप्त सामाजिक स्वास्थ्य कार्यकर्ता (आशा) हैं जो असम के पूर्वी जिले कामरूप मेट्रो में काम करती हैं. मीनारा भारत की महिला स्वास्थ्य वर्कर्स के नेशनल वॉलेंटियर कैडर की 10 लाख से

ASHAs in Haryana protest for better pay & testing facilities during the Covid pandemic./HARYANA ASHA WORKERS UNION

COVID-19

Anger, Distress Among India’s Frontline Workers In Fight Against Covid-19

Without them, It would be impossible to track, test and monitor Covid-19 patients across India’s villages and cities. But over a million women health workers must now work with minimal protection, frequent abuse and attacks. The first of a 3 part series from a 16 state survey of ASHA workers.Mumbai/Hyderabad: It was 9 pm. Lakshmi Singh had just settled for dinner after an exhausting day in the field when she was summoned by the sarpanch. A group of migrant workers who had walked for several days had just entered her village, Raniya in the north eastern district of Bhind in

COVID-19

कोविड-19 के खिलाफ लड़ाई : गुस्सा और तनाव में भारत के फ्रंटलाइन वर्कर्स

रात के 9 बज रहे हैं. दिनभर की भाग-दौड़ के बाद अब लक्ष्मी सिंह खाने बैठी ही थीं कि सरपंच ने उन्हें बुला लिया.कई दिनों से पैदल चलकर अभी कुछ प्रवासी मजदूर उनके गांव पहुंचे थे. लक्ष्मी बीच में ही खाना छोड़कर उन लोगों को क्वारंटीन करने के लिए जरूरी कामों में जुट गईं. यह घटना मध्यप्रदेश के भिंड जिले के रानियां गांव की है.लक्ष्मी बताती हैं कि सबसे पहले समुदाय के जिस भी व्यक्ति में लक्षण होता है, वे लोग उसकी जांच करते हैं. इसके बाद ही डॉक्टरों का काम शुरू होता है. जब डॉक्टर गांव आते हैं तो

Rohini Charri, founder of community organistation Bhumi Gramutthan evam Sehbhagi Gramin Vikas Samiti, that works with women of the Bedia community

COVID-19

Women From The Bedia Community In Morena (MP) Suffer Disproportionately As Their Work Halts

The duration of lockdown has proven difficult for everyone, but it has been more challenging for those who belong to the marginalized sections of the society, particularly  those  dependent on daily wages for their survival. Such marginalised communities, amongst others, include – Nat, Bedia, Banchhada, Sansi, Kanjar, Kalbeliya, Sapera and other such communities whose families depend on their ability to earn each day.  These are from the Denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes faced historical injustices in both colonial as well as free India. They were classified as ‘criminal’ by the state as per the colonial  Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, stigmatising

Ujala Samooh collective women leaders from the tribal Meena and Bhil communities in Southern Rajasthan. Formed in 2011, the tribal women of Ujala Samooh have been organising tribal women in Rajasthan to claim their rights and entitlements. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they are working hard to bust misinformation and make relevant information around the pandemic and government welfare measures available to the citizens.

Adivasi Rights

Adivasi Women Collectives Busting Misinformation

Every morning, Kamla Bai ( 30) makes a round of the hamlets in the Saklal Panchayat in Udaipur district of Rajasthan. Her mission is to bust misinformation and rumours about the coronavirus pandemic among the people of her Panchayat.“ There are all kinds of rumours about coronavirus in the villages. One rumour is that people with symptoms will be taken by the hospital staff and shot in the head to stop the spread of the virus”, she says. Another rumour doing the rounds, especially among men, is that the disease can be cured by drinking Mahua (traditional home-made liquor), which

Seasonal farm workers from Mantralayam in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh (AP), stranded in a chilli farm in Peddapalem in the state’s Guntur district. Thousands of intra-state migrants from other districts in AP who work as seasonal farm labour are stranded in their workplaces with little or no support from the government.

COVID-19

COVID-19: Intra-State Migrants Marooned Too

Peddapalem (Guntur district), Andhra Pradesh: Thousands of families of intra-state migrants are stranded on the margins of Guntur’s world-renowned chilli farms, scrambling to live on a meagre supply of grains and other provisions, and sheltering from 40 degree Celsius temperatures under tarpaulin, as they wait for the lockdown to end.The continuing ordeal of these chilli-farm workers–hailing mostly from Andhra Pradesh’s drought-ravaged Kurnool district–who have neither been accommodated in buildings nor received timely rations and cash from the district administration, suggests that poor migrants within states may be even worse off during the lockdown than inter-state migrants whose home states have been

Bitiya Murmu, a Santhal Adivasi woman leader based in Dumka in Jharkhand has been fighting a personal and a political battle for women’s land and inheritance rights within the Adivasi society. (Photo Courtesy: Bitiya Murmu)
Adivasi Rights

Where Are The Equal Rights For Adivasi Women?

For Bitiya Murmu (40), a Santhal Adivasi woman leader in Jharkhand, personal has become political. For the last ten years, she has been fighting a long battle with her male relatives to claim her rightful share to her ancestral property- a struggle which has since transformed into a statewide advocacy for land, property and inheritance rights for all Adivasi women in the state.Governed by unwritten customary laws, Adivasi women are not entitled to secure inheritance which pushes them into multiple levels of vulnerability within the society. In 1986, Juliana Lakra, an Oraon Adivasi woman filed a writ petition challenging the