All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM) is a forum of Dalit Women committed to challenging the nexus of patriarchy, caste, culture and class oppression, exploitation and marginalization of Dalit Women. AIDMAM has membership and solidarity of non-Dalit women, Dalit men and other human rights defenders committed to the cause of protection and promotion of the rights of Dalit Women under the leadership of Dalit Women. This is a quest for accessing and ensuring Dalit Women’s right to life, security, development, dignity and equality in a violence-free society.
AIDMAM's photo essay:-
Vulnerably placed at the bottom of India’s caste, class and gender hierarchies, Dalit Women experience endemic gender and caste discrimination and violence. They bear the brunt of untouchability, caste oppression, poverty and political subordination along with Dalit men. They share gender based discrimination and exploitation from the patriarchal systems inside and outside the home. The interface of the severely imbalanced social, economic and political power equations in caste and patriarchy impacts Dalit Women uniquely, distinct from the experience of other women or Dalit men. The forces combine to expose them to increased physical and sexual violence and increased exploitation of their labour. They divorce them from access or control on assets and resources. It does not recognise their social and economic contribution. It limits their choices and opportunities, placing them on the bottom rung in all development indicators. The process inculcates disrespect and indignity of Dalit Women at the hands of all men and also of non-Dalit women.
AIDMAM – A response to Violence Against Dalit Women
On an average 27,000 incidents of serious atrocities and human rights violations are registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, annually. Despite the lack of disaggregated data on the extent of violence on Dalit women, there is no doubt that women are affected disproportionately in these incidents. A micro study of 124 cases by Centre for Dalit Rights of atrocities in 5 districts of Rajasthan between October 2004 and January 2006, showed that 55 of these cases were directly inflicted on Dalit Women and Girl children. They ranged from rape, gang rape, rape of minor girls, murder and attempt to murder, physical assault, battering and acid attack. Another 28 women were affected along with their families through land related violence, social boycott, murder of husbands and sons. It is clear that Dalit Women are the prime victims in violence against Dalit communities.
A national study of 500 Dalit women who underwent violence over the past five years by the Institute of Development Education, Action and Studies (IDEAS), brings to light the nature, extant, depth and effect of violence on Dalit women; the inhuman violence and their indomitable spirit and quest for justice.
AIDMAM is initiated as a response to all Dalit women who live through extreme situations of violence on an every day basis and the follow up to the Dalit women who participated and presented their cases in the ‘National Conference on Violence Against Dalit Women’ organised by NCDHR on 7-8 March 2006 at Delhi.
- AIDMAM Affirms
- The 80 million Dalit women who constitute a distinct social category of the Indian population, eight out of every 100 citizens in this country.
- 89.5% of Dalit women contribute considerably to economic production in the country as rural agricultural labour, unorganised industrial workers and as self-employed workers in the informal sector.
- Dalit women negotiate and manage their lives with tremendous courage, resilience and hope in the face of severe caste and gender violence in the form of verbal abuse, physical violence, sexual exploitation and violence both inside and outside home.
- Dalit women’s knowledge and skill in sustainable agriculture, irrigation techniques, animal husbandry and other artisan productions have critical value and contribution for ecologically sustainable development.
- Dalit women’s active participation and contribution to anti-caste and anti-untouchability as well as movements against patriarchy.
- The casteist forces that outcastes, devalues and violates Dalit women’s person hood, sexual and bodily integrity as well as source to life and livelihood
- The forces of patriarchy that perpetrates sexual abuse and dowry harassment; curtails her freedom, space, voice, choice and opportunity within the family and community
- Dalit women being excluded and distanced from access or control of any productive asset and resource like land, credit and quality education
- The labour of Dalit women being exploited, paying them unequal and less than minimum wages
- The extreme and gruesome nature of physical and sexual violence on Dalit women and girl children including rape, rape and murder, physical assault, kidnap and abduction, forced prostitution, sexual exploitation and desertion.
- The continuing dehumanising social and occupational practices like manual scavenging and devadasi system forced on Dalit women.
- Hurdles placed on Dalit women leaders in the Panchayati Raj in fulfilling the Constitutional opportunities provided to them.
- The lack of accountability of the administration, law enforcing agencies, judiciary or the political system in administering services, extending development programmes or accessing justice.
- The perpetration of the cycle of violence and disabilities through the exploitation of Dalit girl children through sexual violence, child labour, illiteracy and discrimination.
- Recognition of Dalit women as a distinct social category and their contribution to national productivity and well being, ensuring that she enjoys equity share in the country’s wealth and resources.
- Protection of life and promote security of Dalit women by adding necessary amendments and strict implementation of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and its rules and other legislative measures.
- Holding panchayats, law enforcement agencies and general administration accountable for preventing atrocities on Dalit women and when committed stringent action is taken against the perpetrators and the victim/survivor/s are provided short-term relief and long term rehabilitation.
- Enhance economic conditions of Dalit women, expanding the provisions under Art. 21 ensure ownership, control and access to land, common property resources, credit and other productive assets.
- Provide discrimination free opportunities for free, quality and compulsory education of Dalit girls and boys for primary, secondary and higher levels of professional and technical education.
- Take stringent action on any harassment of Dalit women as panchayat Sarpanch or representatives and build their capacities to enhance their performance.
AIDMAM hereby declares the commitment to
Challenge the forces of caste and patriarchy, working towards a non-discriminatory and egalitarian society.
Campaign against Domestic violence, female foeticide and child marriage
Monitoring atrocities and extending legal support to survivors of violence
Evolve conceptual clarity on Dalit women’s perspective, concerns
Build and maintain links with other Dalit and women’s organisations to promote Dalit women’s concerns.
Participate in development and human rights forums to present Dalit women’s perspective and concerns
Support member organisations through capacity building and access Dalit women’s access to rights and entitlements.
Provide training to the Dalit women leaders to strengthen their capacities and leadership skills.
Undertake action-research and advocacy on Dalit women’s rights issues
Promote State, Regional, National and international conferences to make visible Dalit women’s issues
Liaison with Dalit women, Dalit, women and other like minded movements and organisations on issues of Dalit women
AIDMAM believes it is possible to create a non-discriminatory and violence free society where all children, women and men of diverse communities can live together and collaborate for common good and well-being. We believe that dialogue and democratic processes can break hierarchical structures and systems of domination and power concentration. With Babasaheb Ambedkar we believe that ‘the progress of any community should be measured in terms of the progress made by its womenfolk’. The courage, strength and resilience of Dalit Women and their quest for justice is inspiration and strength to uproot caste system and Patriarchy.