August 16th from Trivandrum, kerala to

September 30th in Palwal, Haryana

The Mahila (Women) Jan Andolan Yatra (MJAY) is planned from the 16th of August to the 30th of September 2018. A small group of women plan to travel through eleven states, beginning in Trivandrum in Kerala and ending in Palwal in Haryana. (They will traverse through Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Telegana, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.) This yatra purports to mobilize thousands of women around their land rights and their rights as farmers and this will culminate in a larger national action, namely the Jan Andolan, a national march from Palwal to Delhi of 25,000 persons.

 

The Ekta Mahila Manch (EMM), an integral part of Ekta Parishad, is leading this initiative with support from other groups. (Listing) EMM’s goal is to reintroduce the Women Farmers Entitlement Bill drafted by Swaminathan and introduced into the Lok Sabha (Parliament) in 2010. Also throughout the yatra, the EMM will discuss with local women how they could use land and farmer’s rights in combating gender violence as well as how this could increase locally-grown and healthy food for the families and communities in a more sustainable way. 

 

Women and Land Rights

 

After Independence, the consolidation of land holdings was based on the distribution of titles; women did not have their names registered as owners on agricultural lands even though most of them performed many of the farming operations. Women’s lack of economic independence and lack of participation in the decision-making have been the principal reasons for gender inequality.

 

1.    For parental property: To advocate for women’s inheritance right. The amendment to the Hindu Succession Act of 2005 made sons and daughters inheritors of their property but the customary practices of dowry and moving into the in-laws home deters women from holding parental property as an asset. The daughter’s property should not be forfeited.

2.    For property in the marital home: To advocate for women’s name on the title deed. The inordinate focus on the codification of “customary” laws has meant age-old practices of subvention of women has become judicially recognised. For women to file a case in the court is seen as dishonouring the family name. Thus having the joint title in the marital home provides security to women.

3.    For land that is newly distributed: To advocate for women’s name on the land title deed. Land that is distributed under the Forest Rights Act 2007 or distributed by the state as agricultural and/or homestead land, women are to ensure that their name is on the title deed.

4.    For property to single women: To advocate for women to have an independent title on the parentalor marital property. Women that are unmarried, divorced or widowed often are found to have no land rights, and therefore to retain dignity, single women should gain independent title on property either in the marital or parental home.

5.    For women’s access community lands: To advocate for women to have access to community lands for grazing, group farming, the collection of minor forest produce and pisciculture. Women are primarily in charge of cattle rearing and thus need access to community lands for grazing. Also, women take up group farming whether on leased or other gaucher lands. They also collect minor forest produce (fodder, fuelwood and food) for the household as well as catch fish.

6.    For women struggling against land acquisition and appropriation: To advocate for women to resist land loss on which they have title. Women that have title to land are more likely to retain the lands, resisting unfair speculation, manipulation and occupation. 34 % of rural men are migrating into urban areas compared to only 3.7 % rural women.

 

Women and Farmers Rights

 

If hunger and poverty is to be reduced, then women have to be at the forefront of agriculture. Farm productivity and income increases when women are empowered.

 

75 % of all rural women are involved in farm operations. India’s agricultural industry cannot survive without the labour of 80 to 100 million women. On an average, women spend nearly 3,300 hours in the field in a crop season as against 1,860 hours by men. They also engage in important on-farm activities that are not solely cultivation-oriented. Tasks may include a wide variety of activities on animal husbandry, vegetable gardening, the collection of fodder resources, backyard poultry and so forth.

 

Women work harder and longer than male farmers and

·         Prepare the land,

·         Select seeds,

·         Sow and transplant seedlings,

·         Apply manure/fertilisers/pesticides and

·         Harvest,

·         Winnow

·         Do the threshing

 

Women play a crucial role in agriculture and they provide agricultural labour yet they feel that they are not “farmers”.

 

Women are seen as “wives of farmers”, “labourers”, and “helpers”; in fact they are farmers because they do the farming work. According to the National Policy on Farmers 2007, farmers are those people that take up farm activities, not those holding land titles.

 

1.    For women farmers getting loans:Oftentimes women perceive they cannot negotiate bank loans because they are not recognized by bank managers. With men increasingly migrating to cities in search of higher-paying jobs, an NSSO survey in 2017 reported that nearly 80 percent of financially independent women are engaged in farm related activities. Women on the farm are ab le to get identity cards s one means to overcome this hurdle.                  

2.    For  women farmers participating in mandi panchayats and gaining membership in producer organizations: At the local  mandis women farmers face serious discrimination, and are offered raw deals, to which no legal recourse is never sought or granted.

3.    For women farmers assessing and deciding crops: When land is in the hands of women, more food crops are grown, and thus the health improves of the family and the community.

4.    For women farmers liaisoning with the district officials, and policy makers. Since the bureaucratic apparatus and political representatives do not identify women as farmers, they do not take up this issue. As there are many self-help and other women’s groups, it is necessary for women to exert pressure for policies that address women as farmers. and to gain from the existing government programs. It is important to counter indebtedness as it has resulted in a large number of farmer suicides (mainly men-folk), and women realize they are in positions of keeping the farming going.produce price for their fair necessary for women farmers to get are of other government programs. The strengthening of women’s groups availaing and

5.    For women farmers bargaining for MSPs (minimum support prices) when women have security, dignity and recognition. This comes from having land rights and/or farmer’s rights.down,                   

 

Cases of violence against women are steadily increasing in the country. According to the National Crime Record Bureau, India:

One dowry death in the country every 78 hours,

One act of sexual harassment every 59 minutes,

One rape every 34 min,

One act of torture every 12 min

One in every three married women have experienced domestic violence