Aruna Rao interview on Gender At Work and women's rights
Part of a series of interviews recorded at WLP International with WLP partners following transnational partners meeting, September 2015 (for use in Human Rights webinar).
This interview is with Aruna Rao, founder of Gender At Work. She describes the background of interest in roots of institutional change and passion for women’s rights, leading to the foundation of Gender At Work. Discusses necessary factors of individual consciousness and capacities, resources and opportunities, policies and legislation, deeper cultural values and structures, for change to occur. Describes work of organization. Refers to agricultural workers in India, innovations for practical application of women’s quotas, tackling cultural values. Describes coalition of different organizations on gender action learning, connecting women in different states of India. Discusses problem of existing systems not accessed by women. Describes limitations of law and need for dynamic thought and interpretation where necessary, negotiating narrative and modus operandi of institutions involved. Example of Human Rights law as insufficient for advancement of case against sexual violence in Democratic Republic of The Congo, reframing as Humanitarian Law so under purview of UN Security Council. Discusses feminist movement’s resistance to portrayal of women as victims of violence and compromises involved, challenge of interface between citizen’s voices and institutional response. Example of South Africa, large female trade union membership, first to have national gender agenda, systems in place but not in practice due to deep seated norms. Gives detail of four organizations founding Gender At Work.
Describes relationship with Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP). Discusses ongoing commitment to change by equipping change agents for autonomous action, role of individual growth and evolution in mass mobilizations.