Women’s leadership and formation of Mutual Help Groups

Giving women the power over resources is essential for any development to take place. This is lieu of the fact that women are the mainstay in farming and yet they have no decision-making power. Through mutual help groups (MHGs), there is a method of organizing the energy, contribution and activeness of grassroots women.  The MHGs are developed around activities such as developing a grain bank or taking up a tree planting program. Two short case studies are given below.

These tools give the women a level of self-sufficiency in which they can come together and participate in the larger struggle for rights. Otherwise they do not have the facility to do this.

Strengthening women’s role by setting up the (Ekta Mahila Manche) Women’s Wing: An exclusively women’s formation within Ekta Parishad was started in mid-2001 as a way to bring more women leaders and decision-makers into the senior echelons of the organization. Their main focus is the women and land related issues i.e. joint pattas (document stating joint land rights between men and women), are issued in the names of husband and wife both. The campaign to get joint pattas issued in the names of both the husband and wife was carried out by Ekta  Parishad on the understanding that women’s empowerment can be possible only by ensuring women’s rights on land.  (Singh 2005) The tool used here is to motivate women to get into the land rights movement by starting with seeing their own life change and realizing that change is possible within the home, community and society.