“In the past four decades we have witnessed considerable progress among rural women in Andhra Pradesh”
Women were traditionally not the inheritors of any property but, today, a majority of them have come to be owners of permanent houses built by either the government or RDT.
In recent years, the Self Help Group (SHG) movement in Andhra Pradesh gained momentum as these could consolidate the strength of women and place them at the forefront of development. They serve as a common platform for not only identifying and discussing issues concerning the development of women, but also for dealing with these issues individually as well as collectively.
The emphasis on girls’ education resulted in 100% enrolment of girls in primary schools but strict vigilance is needed to see that they finish at least secondary education and are not compelled to get married before reaching 18 years of age.
RDT is very much committed to gender equality and to working towards a just and caring society free from gender-based violence.
Its consistent efforts towards seeing women in diversifed employment positions across the organisation resulted in increasing the percentage of women staff from under 10% in 1994 to 46% in 2016. There has also been a considerable increase in the number of women in leadership positions.
In the past few years, we have concentrated on building teams at the organisational and community levels which can work on the most critical concerns related to gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence against women and girls.
It has been a challenging task but it is essential to persistently tackle this enormous problem. Strengthening Social Action Teams and Community-based Organisations (CBOs), as well as equipping the facilitation and counselling skills of teams set up by RDT for dealing with violence against women and girls, will be an important priority in the years to come.
We are optimistic of our efforts which will always be carried out in the best interests of the people and will involve them in their own socioeconomic transformation.