Community meeting on Domestic Workers

Joint Women's Programme organized a community meeting in Nithari village on the issue of domestic workers, challenges and old age and widow pension. Legal Advisor Bulbul Das gave them advise on both the issues. During the interaction, participating domestic workers complained about the lack of toilet facilities at work place. Lawyer cum activist Dassaid that domestic workers should form a group and request residents welfare association to construct one or two toilets for them in their areas. Das gave them advise on widow and old age pension. She also spoke on legal rights of women in property.

JWP believes that to make a real difference, policies for change have to be demanded and formulated to suit local needs. All necessary implementing mechanisms should be put in place and required funds provided. This needs continuous and concerted advocacy with the government machinery at all levels.

Child Rights
JWP has been campaigning with other child rights and human rights organisations to ensure that all rights are provided to all children. It has been involved in analysing the National Policy for Children and the report of India’s CRC performance with the India Alliance for Child Rights.

The Act to ensure the right of children to free and compulsory education has several gaps. Children below the age of 6 years and above 14 years have been left out of its purview. JWP is continuing to demand that amendments be made to include these children in the context of free compulsory education. JWP is also engaged in studying India’s 12th Five Year Plan for National Development to determine the extent to which the rights of children are addressed.

It has also advocated for action against various forms of child sexual abuse and demanded necessary changes in existing laws and formulating new laws and a stronger commission for protection of child rights.

Women’s Rights
JWP is one of the seven national organisations along with All India Democratic Women’s Association, All India Women’s Conference, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, National Federation of Indian Women, Mahila Dakshata Samiti and YWCA of India who since 1984 have jointly demanded 33% reservation of seats for women in State Assemblies and Parliament. This women's network has succeeded in its attempt to influence the government to bring about changes in the Rape Law, the Dowry Act, the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, Property Rights for Women, and the setting up of the National Commission for Women. Several of the changes demanded have been incorporated.

33% Reservation
The passage of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha in March 2010 had brought in some hope that it would be passed in the Lok Sabha in July 2010. JWP, along with other NGOs, met the Hon’ble President Smt. Pratibha Patil, members of Parliament and party representatives and the Speaker with the following memorandum:
“We call upon all political parties in Parliament to come together and ensure the smooth passage of the 33% Women's Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha without delay.

We appeal to all progressive forces to strongly and vocally support the cause of women's rights and equality in India.”

Despite all efforts, the Bill is still pending.

Gender Sensitive Budget
JWP, alongwith other national women’s organisations, advocated for a Gender Sensitive Budget and sent a Memorandum to the Finance Minister. The demands made were :

  • Adequate gender budgeting in all ministries and departments
  • Suitable funding to ensure Food Security
  • Allocation of 6% of GDP for Health
  • Allocation of 6% of GDP for Education
  • Funds for special schemes for Women Workers
  • Increase in allocation for Women Farmers
  • Increase in allocation for schemes for Tribal, Dalit and Minority Women
  • Special schemes for challenged Women

Advocacy against Price Rise
JWP along with other NGOs, addressed the issue of price rise and demanded action on several points including:

  • Enacting a comprehensive Food Security Act; allocation of 2% of GDP for this purpose
  • Ensuring universal PDS as a core component of the Act
  • Providing 100 days work per household under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act; revision of schedule of rates to fix realistic gender-sensitive work norms; paying the statutory minimum wages set by the States with full price indexing
  • Enacting an Urban Employment Guarantee Act on the lines of NREGA
  • Allocation of 6% of GDP for Health
  • Allocation of 6% of GDP for Education

Advocacy for Clean Drinking Water

Reducing Sex Ratio and emphasis on Rights of the Girl Child

  • Advocating special attention be paid to the girl child from marginalised communities
  • Examine deprivations and rights violations in the implementation of existing policies and
  • Adopting more just and equitable measures

Rights of Domestic Workers
JWP has been demanding a legislation to regulate domestic workers, conditions of employment and wages and registration of all placement agencies. With the help of the National Commission for Women, a draft legislation was drawn up which suggested a Tripartite Board to include the representatives of domestic workers, employers and government to regulate work and wages and protect workers from exploitation by placement agencies and employers. This draft was sent to the government for action. A major demand has been to request government to endorse the ILO Convention which regards domestic work as 'decent work' and ensures equal justice for domestic workers.