Need the Sisterhood’s Support? These Women’s Collectives Will Stand Up For You

By Sakshi Agarwal and Anita Panda

These four collectives are working to ensure women’s empowerment and social participation through law and research. Reach out if you need help or if you want to help out.

Majlis, Mumbai

Majlis was founded in 1991 by Flavia Agnes, a feminist lawyer, and Madhusree Dutta, a filmmaker, to provide legal assistance to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The idea is to empower women to effectively make use of Indian laws. In collaboration with NGOs, they have courses on law for women across colleges in Mumbai.

They also provide gender-sensitization training to police officers as well as judges and magistrates in the state. Of late, they are in the process of reviving a program in which women were provided stipends and training to take up other women’s cases. They seek to initiate a similar ‘multiplier effect’ in the media through special courses. Website: majlislaw.com. Phone: +91 22 26662394 / 26661252. Email: majlislaw@gmail.com

Centre for Social Research, Delhi

CSR(Training of Trainer Programme on Water Conservation and Climate Change for Women Elected Representatives, Abu Road, Rajasthan - 11th to 14th May).jpgCentre for Social Research (CSR) was set up in 1983 by a group of social scientists. Though initially the organisation had broader objectives, it has narrowed its scope to gender-related issues with the mission to empower the women and girls of India, guarantee their rights, and increase understanding of social issues from a gender perspective.

It functions through four departments, and some of their key issue areas include violence against women, prenatal sex selection, engendered governance, women and economy, gender sensitisation, and mainstreaming within all sectors of society.

CSR.jpgLearn more about CSR’s oldest and most established programme, the Gender Training Institute, at gendertraining.in. The programme focuses on identifying gendered interactions within one’s own life in varied contexts, from media to the economy, and works to facilitate women’s empowerment and social justice through capacity building and training-related activities.

They are also extremely active on social media and you can reach out to them on Facebook @csrindia.org and on Twitter and Instagram @csr_india. Website: csrindia.org. Phone: +91 11 26899998 / 26125583. Email: info@csrindia.org

Swayam, Kolkata

Swayam 2.JPGSwayam, which literally translates to “oneself”, is an organisation based out of Kolkata with the aim of providing holistic to support to victims of violence. It provides shelter, healthcare and child support, as well as vocational training referrals, career counselling and employment. In case the victim lacks the funds, financial aid for legal processes is also provided.

“At Swayam we believe that not only should women be aware of their legal rights, they should also be empowered to spread this knowledge to other people,” says Gargee Guha, case-work coordinator.

Swayam.JPGThe organisation runs drop-in centres, where women, accompanied by their children can visit and relax. Another critical part of the experience they provide is the creation of support groups, which allow women to share their experience with others; this catharsis is supported by emotional strength derived from fellow members, which reduces the sense of isolation.

Additionally, they provide self-defence classes and other workshops, and run a magazine and theatre group. Website: swayam.info. Phone: +91 33 2486 3367 / 3368 / 3357. Email: swayam@cal.vsnl.net.in

Lawyers Collective, Delhi

Lawyers Collective(Publications Released)Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative (LCWRI) is a branch of the Lawyers Collective, which was founded in 1981 by lawyers Anand Grover and Indira Jaising. LCWRI itself was founded a decade later. It began with providing legal input to victims of discrimination and violence, ranging from assault to commercial exploitation.

In the course of time, it also expanded to research and analysis of the efficacy of laws and their implementation in relation to ground realities.

Lawyers' Collective1Eventually, they decided to pioneer reform, their most successful venture being the enactment of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act in 2005.

You can even volunteer with them, from writing for their blog “The Invisible Lawyers” to research work. Website: Lawyerscollective.org. Phone: +91-11-41666385. Email: wri.delhi@lawyerscollective.org.

First published in the August 2018 issue of eShe magazine