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As an intrinsic dimension of the Centre’s commitment to focus on issues of discrimination and enhancing gender equality, members of the centre have been active in the fields of advocacy, whether through lobbying with and against the State and its policies, forming common platforms with other organizations and civil society institutions, and assisting in campaigns to bring about changes in public awareness.  The Centre has been actively developing many networks to carry forward these processes.  Over the last year, the faculty of the centre have been members of and initiators among networks of women’s organizations and women’s studies associations on a range of issues.  


Declining Child Sex Ratio and Preventing Sex Selection
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Indian Association of Women's Studies
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FORCES Network
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A Three State Study on Status of Women and Children under NREGA
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A Study on Social Audit of ICDS
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Declining Child Sex Ratio and Preventing Sex Selection

Major initiatives undertaken by the Centre both by its own faculty and through collaborations in launching campaigns against the declining child sex ratio and sex selective abortions have been brought to a successful conclusion for the time being. The collaborative study on the declining child sex ratio took this concern forward by focusing on a relatively neglected dimension of the problem – the dynamic within families in terms of their “choice” of the number and sex of their children, and the factors structuring such choices.  The findings of this study were presented at a National Seminar in New Delhi supported by Action Aid India and IDRC, Canada, December 13-14th 2007.  Participants at the seminar included representatives from the Ministry of Women and Child Development; the National Commission of Women and the Planning Commission, and it was well-covered in the national press.

Indian Association of Women's Studies [ http://www.iaws.org ]

The CWDS and its faculty continue to be active members of the Indian Association for Women’s Studies, the country’s premier association with over 1500 members who are drawn from diverse fields – scholars and teachers, activists, policy makers and professionals. As a follow-up to the well attended Silver Jubilee Conference of the IAWS held in Lucknow in February 2008, one of the plenary panels of the Conference on Fields of Knowledge was brought out in the form of a Special Issue of the Economic and Political Weekly, (Women’s Studies Special) in October 2008.  It contained feminist engagements with the fields of history, development, literature, science and the law.

While the term of the previous Secretariat (located in CWDS since 2005) of the Indian Association for Women’s Studies came to an end in October 2008, the CWDS will be housing the financial base of the IAWS as a long term arrangement, as was ratified in the last General Body Meeting held in Lucknow in February 2008. The CWDS will continue to be actively involved in the future outreach and expansion of the IAWS, especially in the northern region, will help the IAWS in its efforts to build a Corpus Fund for future financial sustainability, and assist in its efforts to expand its membership among youth and students.  As ex officio member of the newly elected Executive Committee for the period 2008-11, the director will be participating in the evolving agendas of the IAWS in the coming years.

FORCES network [ for more information visit: http://www.forces.org.in ]

The Centre is a founder member of the Forum for Creches and Child Care Services (FORCES) network.  The core vision of FORCES is that every child has the right to early childhood care and development including crèches and childcare services and that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure such services for all children, especially those of women working in the unorganized and informal sector. Since April 2007 it is housed at CWDS. The present coordinator is Savitri Ray and convenor Vasanthi Raman.

Today FORCES is an All India network comprising 50 member organizations (Trade unions, women’s organizations, NGOs and academics, lawyers, medical doctors, etc), individual members and eleven regional networks with their own membership. Its activities include grassroots mobilization, campaigns, policy intervention and research.

Regional Networks:


Regional networks are actively engaged in advocating the rights of the young child through the convening organization and its members.


Convenor Organisation


Mobile Crèches 


Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP)


Centre for  Health Education Training and Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA)

Tamil Nadu

Foundation for Rights of Young Child


Vihaan / Seva Mandir




Association Social Health Institute (ASHI)

Uttar Pradesh

Vigyan Foundation




Adi Gram Samiti

Himachal Pradesh

Jan Abhiyan Sanstha

Madhya Pradesh

Mahila Chetna Manch


Critical Issues identified by FORCES

   Commitment to address the four basic rights (survival, protection, development and
 participation) through ECCD services.

    Declining sex ratio in the context of high infant mortality of the girl child and discrimination  
 against her.

    Provision of services like creches and ICDS/day care centres, maternity benefits, etc.

    Policies affecting nutritional status leading to high infant/child mortality rates.

    Implementation of universalisation of ICDS.

    Education for the under sixes.

    Development of a database 

    Empowering PRIs to participate effectively in decision making processes.

    Capacity building of regional networks for research and monitoring.

Stakeholders with whom FORCES engages in advocacy and campaigning:

    GOI – Dept. of Women & Child development

    State level and district level government officials involved in direct and indirect decision making of ECCD services involving food security, nutrition, health, education, day care and legal protection

    Unicef, PLAN, India Alliance for Child Rights, etc

    Members of PRIs and Mahila Mandal

    Anganwadi workers

    Primary Health Centre functionaries

    Government and Private day care centre functionaries

    Family members of the beneficiaries receiving public and privatized ECCD Services with representation from remote locations and nomadic tribes

    Protectors of PNDT Act

The Centre continues to be an active member of the National network of women’s organisations composed of nine member organisations.  The recently held March 8 International Women’s Day celebrations were conducted in the Old City with a march and rally of about 200 women.  Common demands raised found an echo among the public, including basic public amenities, education and ICDS facilities for children, against multiple forms of violence against women, and for reservations for women in Parliament.  Special meetings and lobbying included a Women’s Charter to all political parties in the run up to the Lok Sabha Elections in 2009.

Issues related to the sex ratio continue to be a critical area for policy related advocacy and networking.  The Report Planning Families, Planning Gender is envisaged as a means to raise public awareness around the issues involved, including the limitations of existing government policies and the need for further interventions by the state.  The Report can be freely accessed from the CWDS website, while hard copies can be requested from the IDRC South Asia office in New Delhi.  Issues arising from the study have been presented on several occasions, including with the Ministry for Women and Child Development, on civil society platforms such as that of Wada Na Todo Abhiyan and the Centre for Gender and Budget Allocations, in advising new research initiatives such as the Study on Policies related to the Girl Child in India and China being undertaken by the International Centre for Research on Women; and in initiatives to take forward concerns around women’s access to safe abortion.

The field of disability is as much an area of research as it is one of advocacy. The concerned faculty member is currently involved in several initiatives.  These include joining the protest of the Disability Rights Group against the assimilation of children with disabilities within the broad rubric of disadvantaged children, rather than giving them a distinct place as a separate group in the Right to Education Bill. She is also a member of a 17 member core group to develop a model curriculum for disability studies as an academic discipline initiated by the Society for Disability Studies for the University Grants Commission for Central Universities.

Along with these, faculty members are further involved in a range of other campaigns:  In creating public awareness around adoption rights for members of minority communities, on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, discussions on the proposed Sexual Assault Bill, the campaign to decriminalise same sex relationships in IPC Section 377, ongoing discussions on Social Security for the Unorganised Sector, lobbying with the Planning Commission on engendering the 11th Plan, and so on.

A Three State Study on Status of Women and Children under NREGA

Project coordinator-Savitri Ray

The study was conducted in collaboration with partners in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Haryana. The report addresses issues ranging from the social background of NREGA beneficiaries, out-migration patterns the scheme’s impact on quality of life, the services (especially childcare) available at worksites, levels of awareness regarding the provisions of NREGA, the work experience itself (wages, measurement of work, facilities) and villagers’ opinion of benefits accrued under the NREGA, if any. Interviews with women further focused on how the programme’s implementation or design could be improved, and the ways in which it has contributed to individual and household well being.


The findings of this study seek to solicit intervention at the grassroots level and better advocacy directed to spreading awareness about the NREGA’s provisions especially with regard to childcare, so as enable women to participate in the programme without being forced to compromise on their children’s health and well-being.



A Study on Social Audit of ICDS
Project coordinator-Savitri Ray

The study was undertaken in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand as a part of the strengthening process of the state network. The findings of the study were also shared in the respective districts with various functionaries of the ICDS including community members and other local level authority like NRHM etc.