Confederation of central govt. employees and workers
ALL INDIA WOMEN’S WORKSHOP
9TH and 10TH OCTOBER, 2015. HYDERABAD
WORKING WOMEN -- CHALLENGES and PROBLEMS
A very warm morning to our Beloved president, respected dignitaries on the Dias, my dear comrades and delegates who have assembled here from all over the country. It gives me an immense pleasure to share a few thoughts as the convener of CCGE women sub-committee. At the outset I would like to thank reception committee of confederation of AP circle and comrades of telangana for hosting this workshop. A sincere thanks to the leaders of confederation for their concern on Problems faced by Working women and making an effort to find a solution and facilitate their upliftment by arranging a two days workshop on “ ISSUES OF THE WORKING CLASS” with a special highlight on ”The challenges and problems faced by working women”.
This day becomes incomplete without us remembering those great women who lost their lives as victims’ for the cruel side of the society. The Icons of women movement who have not benefited directly from the campaigns to reform the laws dealing with rape.Turning back into the pages of history,
* MATHURA a 16year old adivasi girl whose gang rape in police custody in Chandrapur, Maharashtra had triggered a nationwide campaign against rape and demands for reforms in criminal law in 1972.
*BANWARI DEVI whose gang rape by upper caste men in Bhateri village, Rajasthan caused immense outrage and provided the impetus for significant ruling against sexual harassment in 1992 which led to the ”VISHAKA guidelines on sexual harassment at workplace in 1997, leading to ensure the right of women workers to a safe working environment.
*Not toforget the case of nurse ARUNA SHANBAGH who recently breathed her last at the KEM Hospital on 18th may 2015 who was in a vegetative condition for 42 years after being sexual assaulted by a ward boy in 1973.
Innumerable women have lost their lives from the past to a recently well remembered NIRBHAYA case. As per the data available till 2012, out of 121 countries,South Africa tops the list, the United States stand 16th, Brazil at 18 and India stands at 85th place when it comes to sexual assaults on women at workplace.
Problems of women are very sensible. Its relativity is totally with MIND and MATTER. “If we mind, it will matter”. “ If we never mind, it doesn’t matter “.With examples like Malala-victimized for girl education, Sonali Mukherjee-victim of acid attack for not accepting love, Kushboo, a 17 year girl who hanged herself in her house(Dumkha, Jharkand) in July 2015 struggling for basic need(a toilet) at home. Women working in malls, hotels, garments are not safe. Domestic violence and women assualtation is very common in India. Sexual harassments on women are linked with various other reasons- be it political, religious, caste based, or as domestic violence.
With about half of the country’s population being women, it’s tragic to know that most of them are deprived from constitutionally provided rights. With over 189 countries including India that participated in the UNO Women convention held at Beijing in 1995, passed a decision stating “No country shall be liable, to be called as a democratic country, until it gives equal rights to women of their country.” It is a questionable fact as to how many country’s abide this including India.
Each passing year, despite the hallow celebrations in the name of women, including International Women’s Day , the oppression, harassment and humiliation inflicted upon the women folk is going up beyond all limits. If capitalism reduced women to a mere commodity, fascism does not even recognize her identity as a human being. In this background, survival and emancipation in real sense is to be achieved as Gandhiji says “women are equivalent to men, intellectually, mentally and spiritually. She can participate in every activity like men”. Multiple struggles of women movement have brought in some kind of relief compared to the previous history. Stillmajority of women in India and the world struggle for sheer survival against all odds. Visionary enough to know that the battle for survival itself shall not be won without winning the battle for emancipation from all kinds of oppressions and exploitations. At the heart of that battle for emancipation in our country are the women of our society and working classes, our concern as working women is not marginised to our own benefits. We have concern with issue that have a negative effect on the life of millions of women in this global era. Women’s movement worldwide is today faced with challenges quiet different from those in previous years. Powerful forms of capitalism developed to capture world markets are designed equally to capture minds. The present unjust world orders strengthen inequalities between nations, between classes and between men and women. As Women’s empowerment is concerned, it can only be measured by how far women have advanced in the spheres of economic independence, not as equality in political assertion in being able to live a violence free life and being able to break social and cultural barriers which keep women in subordinate positions. Let us unitedly struggle to make this happen, stop social division of gender, social division of labour as a worker and hope to get all rights that should be equal according to the constitution in practice and all the basic human rights that are deprived. Let us hope that this two days workshop will guide us to know several things and lead us on to a way for our future struggles. Let us commit ourselves for that long drawn struggle because if we remain silent, we will lose all the hard earned rights.
With this, I would like to conclude by a saying, “AS WOMEN, WE MUST STAND UP FOR OURSELVES STAND UP FOR EACH OTHER AND STAND UP FOR JUSTICE FOR ALL”
With warm greetings,
R. Seethalakshmi, Convenor
Women sub-committee, confederation