Incidences of domestic violence are on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. As families went into lockdown, incidences of atrocities on wives and children within the four corners of the house increased. There is no better way to halt this injustice than women empowerment. A woman who is economically and psychologically empowered can speak out and take action against the perpetrator whether it’s her husband or a dominating family member. The Netherlands Embassy is bringing various agencies together to give vulnerable women a voice.
Anneke Adema, Deputy Head of Mission at The Netherlands Embassy in India, launched a consortium on November 25, 2020 at the beginning of the UN 16 days of activism campaign. This new consortium united against domestic violence is comprised of Jammu & Kashmir based grassroots initiative Farm2U, Delhi-based organisation PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia) and Women on Wings. They are all jointly developing strategies and planning activities to stop violence against women. Empowering women is the first step. Making boys and men more woke in another.
Farm2U has been providing cold chain services, and introducing new horticultural methods to farmers in Jammu & Kashmir for a decade. It is the largest network of its kind in the State. Although its base is largely male, Farm2U works closely with female orchard leaders and plant doctors. In fact, women are part of the entire chain. PRIA is a research and training organisation that promotes more gender-equal societies. PRIA has already partnered with the Netherlands Embassy in India for various projects and is linked with 3,000 NGOs. Women on Wings takes families in rural India out of poverty by making women employable, and in the process, empowering them.
The new consortium backed by the Netherlands Embassy in India will establish resource and support centres for female migrant workers from the unorganised sector in Gurugram and for women farmers in Pulwama. Select women from both the towns will gain knowledge about safety, violence, their rights and the law at these centres. The programme includes capacity building of the women and sensitising men and boys in their communities to gender-based violence. After all, domestic violence is a social evil that cannot be rooted out without sensitising men and the boys who will grow up to be men tomorrow.