Origin and Background of AIDMAM

All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM) is a movement initiated and promoted by NCDHR (National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights) at the national level to focus exclusively on Dalit women. Its genesis is rooted in an attempt to address severe vulnerabilities faced by the 80 million Dalit women and girls who are socially excluded and lie at the bottom of India’s caste, class and gender hierarchies.

Our Aims

AIDMAM aims to support and strengthen Dalit women to address violence and access justice and rights through networking, enhancing skills and leadership at district and state level. AIDMAM’s objective is to Empower Dalit Women to challenge against Caste, Class and Patriarchal Norms. Support Dalit Women to liberate Dalit Women from their multi-dimensional issues.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dalits in Decision Making

Half a century of freedom from foreign rule and self-government was not able to reduce poverty and social in-equalities in the society and particularly in Dalit communities. Instead through the state and non-state mechanisms hitherto exploitative and oppressive forces have enhanced their power and even gained legitimacy through the democratic process. A positive process has been the enactment of the 73rd and 74th amendments giving mandatory representation of Dalit women and men at the panchayats and urban local governance. Even though constitutional amendments provided reservations for Dalits in Panchayat Raj System, generally dominant castes don’t conduct Panchayat meetings, but force elected Dalit ward members to sign the minute’s books. There are cases where elected Panchayat Sarpanch will not be handed over the keys and the records of Panchayat office. Even though she/he is the head of the Panchayat, Dalit Sarpanch or ward members are forced to stand in the meetings. Dalit ward member or Sarpanch may even have to lose their lives when they raise issue or try to exercise their rights/authority.

In such a complex situation, Dalit women face the multiple disabilities of gender, caste and poverty. Studies reveal that many of the positions occupied by them are actually managed by dominant community members or even male members of the family. When they assert their rights they are forced to resign and even lose their seats. Despite these many limitations, the reservation policy in the panchayats has brought a number of Dalit elected representatives into leadership and decision making positions. While the majorities are forced to compromise on various counts or are not able to carve out a path for themselves a few of them make a mark and try to fulfill their duties. Dominant communities use many measures both inside and outside the Panchayat body to prevent Dalit women encouraging a few role models and bringing together Dalit elected representatives provide another aspect by which we can strengthen the process of Dalit empowerment.

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