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Focus: GS-I Indian Society

The story of women being empowered for self-protection

  • Women, children and the old and infirm were left behind every year as Majhiyar’s men travelled miles looking for agricultural labour, except in the rainy season, often not returning for months.
  • Dacoit ‘Dadua’ and his gang members used to barge into our houses, abduct and harass women and girls, and even steal cattle.
  • Even after his killing in 2007 by the police, the ‘women empowerment’ which began after 12 women got guns for self defence (and successfully staved off several attempts by Dadua to enter their homes for five years) did not stop.
  • In fact, it opened up livelihood options for residents and improved women’s participation in the workforce and the decision-making, as the enduring dread of dacoits petered out.
  • Earlier, women kept their faces veiled in front of strangers and weren’t allowed to step outside if not for farming. But seeing the women sentinels confidently wield guns, hold mock drills, and patrol around the villages’ perimeter with alertness at night, startled the men.

The transformation

What showcased the women’s courage and leadership for the first time was an incident in neighbouring Kakaredi village, days after they were given guns, handed over to them under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).

Over the years, villagers have opened businesses, many headed by women.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024