A report from TARA
International Women’s Day was celebrated at TARA and in L-block neighborhood of Sangam Vihar, Delhi on 8th March 2016. The program was organized in collaboration with Social Welfare Department under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. More than 450 persons participated in the daylong program. It was organized in continuance of the “Fair Chances Campaign” with the theme “Let’s Work Together: For Gender Equality”. The event was divided into two parts. The first part was held at Sangam Vihar, the largest migrant settlement in India, together with the Government Anganwadi workers. The second part of the program was held at TARA premises with the artisans, students and the staff members.
At Sangam Vihar community meeting, Moon Sharma from Tara spoke about the importance of the day and called upon the women to unite against un-justice and exploitation. She shared information about the Fair Chances campaign and stressed upon the need to involve also men believing in gender equality.
Later in the day, a march was organized. The participants carrying placards and banners displaying slogans of gender equality, women rights and girls education, marched on the streets in the area. This was followed by a cultural program by the participants. They sang songs with the theme of gender equality, conducted role plays, recited poetry and shared their views on women rights and empowerment. Mr. Basant Kumar, President Tara Projects Association spoke about the role of women in the society. He urged the men to support and respect the women.
All the participants also took a Pledge for Parity. They pledged to work for attaining parity amongst the women and men by 2020 as per the United Nations goal. A signature campaign was also organized and all signed in favor of Gender Equality. A community lunch was prepared and all enjoyed the food together. In the event at Tara, a number of producers and staff members gathered and discussed about the need for the gender equality at work. Welcoming the participants, Moon Sharma talked about the status of women in our society. She mentioned that one of the principles of Fair Trade is Gender Equality and thus it is very important for everyone to ensure that men and women work together towards achieving this goal. She spoke about the artisan women in Fair Trade supply chains and the efforts made to empower them.
Vikas Kumar from Tara spoke about the necessity for the equal respect for both men and women. He urged the participants to stand up against any form of inequality. He emphasized for both men and women to complement each other in facing the issue of inequality and injustice.
Pankaj Mehndiratta suggested the participants to introspect and find the answer to the question that what does a woman want? This set the tone for participants to think about it and they came out with interesting answers like women need education, respect, opportunities, and independence to choose their work profession. One of the women artisan felt that in her case it was a male social worker who helped her to overcome her gender related inhibitions. The participants felt that both the genders need to complement each other instead of competing with each other. In the end, all agreed that “Women need independence to take decisions about issues concerning their lives.”
Other participants also shared their experiences and felt that they did experience gender equality and faced discriminatory issues in their previous organizations. A participant recounting her experience shared that how she overcame her fear about men. She feared them because of her childhood upbringing. She experienced the positive change after joining Tara, which helped her to change her perception about herself as a woman. Now she treats herself no less than anyone else.
The event was also attended by Mr. Tobias from Swallow and Emmaus International in Sweden. He explained to the participants about the issue of gender and its perspective in the European countries. By giving the example of Fair Trade, he motivated the participants to practice Gender Equality in their homes, at work, in national politics and as decision makers. The event concluded with the participants committing themselves to Gender Equality in their lives, both at home and at work.