Amity Institute of Social Sciences (AISS) in association with “Initiatives: Women in Development(IWID)”commenced three-day “Women Parliament” at Amity Campus, Sector 125,Noida.
The objective of the event is to empower women of the country economically and politically by including their perspective in policy making,inspiring them to join mainstream politics and to balance the deficit in Democracy.
During the first day, National Consultative Meet of Women Farmers was conducted under the programme of Women Parliament wherein over 300 women farmers across the nation including Manipur, West Bengal, Maharashtra,Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh amongst others participated to discuss their issues.
The event was inaugurated by Chief Guest Padamashri Dr.Bina Agarwal, Dr.Jyotsna Chatterjee, Director, Joint Women's Programme; Ms. Sheelu President, Women’s Collective, Tamil Nadu; Dr.Neelavalli, Executive Director, IWID and Prof. (Dr.) Nirupama Prakash, Director, AISS.
Sharing her views on issues faced by women farmers, Padmashree Dr. Bina Agarwal said that in Indian agricultural system, women play a significant and crucial role in agricultural development and allied fields including main crop production, livestock production etc. She added that rural men migrate to distant places in search of livelihood, while leaving the burden of agriculture management on female members. She highlighted that according to a study, atleast 40% of agriculture workers are women. Dr. Agarwal stressed that despite their importance to agricultural production,women face severe handicaps. She apprised that women farmers are unaware about their rights and face widespread restrictions on decision making process such as about the basic resource for production, access to productivity-enhancing inputs such as credit, fertilizers, improved seeds and extension and their share in crop selling. She further added that women perform all un-mechanized agricultural tasks and perform multiple tasks, which add to their burden. Dr.Agarwal mentioned that over the time, many changes have occurred in favor of women such as amendment of Hindu Succession Act in 2005 which gives woman aright in the property of joint family in which she is born or is married into. She urged the participants to spread the awareness about the rights of women.
During the discussion, women raised various questions pertaining farming issues in tribal areas, rights of dalit women farmers, issues in land acquisition bill etc. which were efficiently addressed by Dr. Bina Agarwal.
Emphasizing on the empowerment of women farmers, Dr. Neelavalli said that women farmers are major contributors to the country’s agricultural and economic growth but they are yet to receive their due recognition for the work. She stressed that the main aim of the programme is to help women gain recognition as farmers so that they own agricultural land and access institutional credit,new technologies and government programs.
Echoing the focus on development of women farmers, Prof. (Dr.) Nirupama Prakash underlined the need to increase the participation of women in decision-making processes to ensure sustainable development. She added that Amity has always encouraged gender equality in every domain and conducted various programmes to raise awareness about the rights of women.
During the programme, women farmers narrated their personal experiences and hardships related to land rights and succession.
During the second and third day, Business Hours of Women Parliament will be conductedwherein women leaders, social workers and academicians will participate in themodel parliament and debate on the national issues, policies and displayed their competency in policy making.