From the Viewsroom

Women’s International

Poornima Joshi | Updated on March 07, 2021

At Delhi’s borders, women will discuss farm laws, labour rights

Besides igniting a debate on corporatisation, the kind of development India needs and neo-liberal reforms, the farmers movement has stoked an equally significant current – the re-emergence of women as a political force. This year, the Women’s Day in Delhi is not just about token luncheons or the free coupons for sale of consumer goods, as befitting the station of women as beautified home makers-cum-professionals in the work-from-home new normal. On March 8, at the borders of Delhi, women farmers, labour rights activists, home-based workers and working women will discuss how reforms in the last 30 years have impacted agriculture, how farm laws are situated in their daily lives, the shrinking space for labour rights and the socio-political changes that the new economy has brought about.

The movement has thrown up an entirely new set of women leaders – Harinder Bindu of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), Nodeep Kaur of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan who talks about labour rights and Disha Ravi, the face of the millennials who have underlined the criticality of climate change in our daily lives. Women’s collective engagement with larger socio-political and economic questions is significant in an age where the feminist movement is largely about assertion in the arena of individual, sexual rights or bodily integrity. It is bringing back some of the ideas of democratic society embedded in the first wave of the feminist movement where women demanded adult franchise. It progressed to the second wave which challenged patriarchy and socio-cultural subjugation of women, reproductive rights, the zeitgeist of the movement being Kate Millet’s “Sexual Politics”. The women’s movement in the post-globalisation era is Sexual Politics atomised with the MeToo movement being the most visible and effective action against sexual harassment at the workplace as also rights of the sexual minorities.

But the women from the farm are making the larger structural connections between economy, politics and their individual condition. Even for those who disagree, it would be hard not to concede that women have broadened the conversation.

Published on March 07, 2021

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