8 march 2003 - rallying together



Newsletter Jan - Apr 2003

The shadow of the Gujarat violence loomed large. The prospect of war was eminent. Another year of confronting countless incidents of violence against women, of living with the increasing impact of globalization, reducing livelihood options and food security and counting the struggle for reservation for women. The following is the text of the leaflet issued jointly with other women's groups to mark the day.

8th March- The symbol of women’s struggle worldwide for equal rights and liberty from all forms of oppression was, this year, also a day of solidarity with the struggle for justice and piece all over the world.

Marching from Feroshah Kotla grounds to Mandi House in Delhi the roads echoed the voices of about a thousand women from a spectrum of women’s groups- party based organizations, NGOs and autonomous groups, and countless individuals( threatening numbers of men who joined us to express their solidarity.) Voices that spoke out against increasing communalism in India, that protested against various forms of violence against women- from dowry to sexual harassment at the work place, to sex determination, voices that decried the US UK led war against Iraq!

With songs and speeches, plays, ditties and common pamphlet. Of the day the message was clear: “ We want peace and development, not war and destruction…. We express our solidarity with our brothers and sisters and children of Iraq, who are threatened By a new savage phase in the 12 year old sanctions; war being waged against them yet again, that will lead to millions more being maimed or killed or rendered homeless, more jobless, more destitute.”

“We the women of India forcefully raise our voice for peace and communal harmony in the country. We condemn violence and carnage unleashed by the Sangh Giroh in Gujarat in the name of religion against the minority communities, particularly Muslims. Women were specially made targets. They are raped even minor girls and pregnant women were not speared.-and murdered. The government whose job was to protect the right to life of all the citizens of India instead connived with the perpetrators….. and used religion to garner electoral support….. We demand that the guilty be punished in order to restore the faith of the people, especially minority communities, in the rule of law.”

“We strengthen our resolve to fight all kind of violence against women, sexual harassment at the workplace…child rape, domestic violence…dowry…. female foeticide….(which are) becoming more rampant.”

We also assert our right to livelihood… and our long standing demand for reservation for women in parliament and state legislatures.”

No to war; yes to peace!

International Women’s Day- long live!

Women’s unity –long live!

Brought out by Ankur, Centre for women’s development studies, EKATRA, FORCES, Janwadi Mahila Samiti (AIDWA) Joint Women’s Programme Mahila Dakshita Samiti, National Federation of Women, Nurses’ Union (AIIMS,RML)Sabia Sangh, Saheli, Sama, Stri Adihikar Sangathan, YWCA of India, Action India,Akil Bharatiya Pragatisheel Mahila Association.