In India, 30% of women aged 18-49 years have experienced physical violence since age 15, and 6% have experienced sexual violence (NFHS-5, 2022). Moreover, 3% of women who have been pregnant aged 18-49 years have experienced physical violence during pregnancy. These numbers are likely to be much higher as many women will not be able to report violence or are not taken seriously if they do report it. Discriminatory gender norms work against women.
All types of violence against women and girls are widespread across India, including physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse. This hinders educational attainment and earnings potential and has significant economic and social costs. COVID-19 has exposed the fault lines of gender equality, with resulting increases in the incidence of domestic violence, and forced early marriage.
Action Village India’s partner, EquiDiversity Foundation, works in West Bengal to support women experiencing violence by providing mental health support and safety for victims, intervening in cases of early forced marriage, and working with men to deconstruct toxic, oppressive patriarchal masculinities and foster respect towards women and girls. EquiDiversity helps women form Neighbourhood Watch Committees through which women come together to support one another and challenge gender-based violence within their communities.
EquiDiversity Foundation is working to strengthen women leaders in panchayats and remove the dominance of men who tend to try to rule for them.
Equidiversity Foundation is committed to creating an environment that promotes gender equality through political, social and financial empowerment with active informed participation of individuals, the community and the state. They mobilise community women, elected women representatives and young people, to work on development and gender equality issues, alongside raising awareness at the individual, community and state levels around governance, gender equality, individual rights and entitlements, addressing gender based violence and discrimination. They also build capacity at all levels for active participation in political processes, gender responsive budgeting, community development, fighting gender injustices and inequalities, social awareness and support women to develop life, livelihoods and leadership skills.EquiDiversity Foundation