Before embarking on my Ph.D journey, I was working as a Research Assistant/Associate with Best Practices Foundation (BPF) in Bangalore, India. At BPF, I worked on research projects in the field of development, governance and gender.
Presented here are two main projects.
The first two publications are based on our work with Mahila Samakhya (MS), a Government of India initiative for women’s empowerment. In this project, we documented several best practices of MS. I was involved in the documentation of the Nari Adalat (women’s courts) and Federations, the organizational structure of MS.
In the second project, I worked with Huairou Commission, a global coalition of grassroots women’s network, where we documented women’s participation in governance in six countries.
1. The Nari Adalat: A Grassroots Response to Violence and Injustice against Women (2010) (with Manabendra Sen) In Grassroots Women’s Movement: Innovations towards Education for Empowerment, edited by Dr.Sangeetha Purushothaman. Best Practices Foundation: Bangalore.
The NariAdalat (Women’s Courts), an innovation of Mahila Samakhya (MS),emerged as a grassroots response to the rise in violence against women that only a decentralized, gender sensitive forum could address. The Nari Adalat is a women’s collective formed across age, caste, marital status, religion, region and occupation which addresses issues of violence against women, and helps them access their rights as citizens.
2. Federations: The Face of the Movement (2010) (with Nancy Yu and Tharun Debnath) In Grassroots Women’s Movement: Innovations towards Education for Empowerment, edited by Dr.Sangeetha Purushothaman. Best Practices Foundation: Bangalore.
Autonomous federations and sanghas are the building blocks of this grassroots movement which provide the basis for women to work together on social issues, ensure a learning environment and at the same time respond to an ever-changing socio-political milieu. Federations that have evolved out of the MS programme are, therefore, different from other collective structures in their processes, perspectives, and objectives.
Unlike contemporary structures that look at empowerment only through the lens of poverty alleviation and economic empowerment, these federations have abroad based, multi-faceted, and radical consciousness-raising approach imbibed from MS. This paper presents the various strategies and impacts of the Mahila Samakhya federations.
3. Transforming Development: Creating Synergies between Grassroots Women and Institutions of Governance.
Authors: Preethi Krishnan, Priya Pillai, Tara Tobin, Sudha Menon, Carolina Pinheiro.
Edited by: Dr. Sangeetha Purushothaman and Sarah Silliman.
On behalf of Huairou Commission, a global coalition of grassroots women’s networks. In this compendium, we present the diverse experiences of grassroots women in six countries (Brazil, India, Kenya,Nepal, Peru,Philippines) as they claim their voice in decision-making, build political power, and make social change in their local contexts.
From women working in countries with sophisticated decentralized decision-making structures, to those with centralized governments or living in repressive regimes, bottom-up strategies such as organizing, building knowledge of the political processes, and initiating dialogues with local government, have not only been effective for women to make advancements in the public sphere, but have led to real gains in the lives of women and their communities.