India’s social fabric is embedded with threads of gender biasness, crowned by patriarchal beliefs of male superiority over women who are deep rooted in the institutional practices and community norms. The International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) is a private, non-profit organization with a mission to empower women, advance gender equality and fight poverty in the developing world. With its headquarters in Washington DC with its regional offices in New Delhi, India and Kampala, Uganda, IRCW is working towards changing this framework. We have with us Mr. Ravi Verma who has elaborated and briefed us about ICRW and its India chapter.
Today we face the crises where crimes in India involving violence and injustice towards the women is on a rise, starting from gender inequality, female feticide, lack of proper health care, education freedom given to young girls and women who also fall prey to predatory advanced which are sexual in nature, domestic and physical abuse, inequitable wages, lack of decision making authority and access to property. The cries of help are muffled by the family and society and their dreams are crushed into million pieces. The scenario remains the same in all walks and class of the society where the position and power of the male counterpart outweighs that of women.
This grim picture is prevalent is social, economic and political practices of the country. ICWR works in collaboration with wide range of partners including governmental agencies, NGO and other foundations at local, national and international levels to upraise and empower the condition of women and targeting at gender quality. Putting forth ICRW’s course of action he says “ICRW works on a complete continuum from prevention- both primary and secondary to care and support to contribute to ensuring access to justice, for instance our engagement in the assessment of the roll out and implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 in India.”
IRCW believes it is a birth right of every women belonging to all socio-economic walk of life to be presented with equal opportunities , services and justice women and girls who have been a target of gender inequality and discrimination and hence approaches victims of gender inequality and discrimination, by prioritising their rights, protection, and empowerment. ICRW’s flagship initiative and flag ship programmes such as Gender Equity Movement in Schools (GEMS- primary prevention school based program with boys and girls on Gender Based Violence), Promoting Adolescent Engagement Knowledge and Health (PAnKH) for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of adolescent girls, Planning Ahead for Girls’ Empowerment and Employability (PAGE - a school based program for adolescent girls), PARIVARTAN (sports for development to address gender inequity and gender based violence for girls and boys), Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement (PACE- a program with women garment factory workers across and their daughters in the community across Vietnam, Cambodia, India, China and Bangladesh) etc.
IRCW, a global leader in development and monitoring framework, has also worked in many government projects, donor organizations, NGO programs etc., in more than 65 countries worldwide, through which ICRW has developed a global knowledge base of best practices and context-specific M&E tools and resources. Crossing the geographical boundaries ICWR has implemented programmes like GEMS program, PACE program, International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES); the Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference study in India, Nepal and Vietnam; the Women in Governance: Promoting Women’s Political Leadership and Governance in India and South Asia study; and the Review of Australian Aid Initiatives in the Pacific Aimed at Ending Violence against Women, etc.
Further elaborating on such initiatives Mr. Ravi says, “Various studies and programs have extensively focused on vulnerabilities and its manifestations that make women, girls and men and boys highly vulnerable to various human rights violations such as trafficking, gender based violence (GBV), denial of right to life, and right to have access to decent work opportunities.”
The significant work done by the organisation in India are Assessment of the Roll Out and Implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 which included Collaborating with Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative (LCWRI), and the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, ICRW conducted its first prevalence studies on domestic violence to assess the implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) 2005 in India, Gender Equity Movement in Schools or (GEMS) which is a school-based curriculum that uses group education and campaign activities to promote equitable gender norms and attitudes in Indian public schools to improve the health and well-being of boys and girls ages 12-18, PARIVARTAN which was developed by ICRW and Apnalaya , based on Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM), a program which worked with men and boys to reduce violence against women and girls and alter norms that foster gender inequity, Safe Cities.
An initiative undertaken by ICRW in Delhi supported by UN Women that aims to build strategic partnerships with government to address issues of safety and vulnerability to sexual violence for women in public spaces in the city, Assessment of the Prevalence of School- Related Gender Based Violence which is a a rapid assessment of SRGBV in five countries of Asia (Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam) to generate evidence and recommend key actions to inform an effective program design to address SRGBV for Plan International’s regional program on violence prevention in school settings, Promoting Equality and Safety in Schools (PEASS),International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) - a multi-country, comprehensive household questionnaire on men’s attitudes and practices – along with women’s opinions and reports of men’s practices – on a wide variety of topics related to gender equality such as gender-based violence; health and health-related practices; household division of labour; men’s participation in care giving and as fathers; men’s and women’s attitudes about gender-related policies.
‘IMAGES’ was implemented by Instituto Pro Mundo and ICRW in eight countries, including India and Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India, Nepal and Vietnam.
ICRW has been making a difference in the lives of many by endorsing and encouraging women to evolve by bringi8ng in their fundamental rights in local, national and international level with the help of important stakeholders that hold the stem of the society like the government, NGO’s and other similar agencies. IN Mr. Ravi’s words, “ICRW is a part of various platforms to create awareness and engage in policy advocacy on a range of issues such as Gender Based Violence, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health, Governance and Agency, Sexual Minorities and Vulnerabilities, Engaging Men and Boys for transformation etc.”
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