Nirantar is grounded in the women’s movement and other progressive movements. We focus on education as a feminist issue and we believe that concerns central to the women’s movement must find a place within our work on education as well. We have engaged with various women’s rights issues, the rights of same-sex desiring and transgender people, the rights of the marginalised to their rights entitlements ranging from livelihoods to freedom from violence and inequality.
Nirantar has advocated strongly with NGOs, women’s groups, government institutions and international forums for the recognition and importance of literacy in women’s lives and as an ineluctable element of empowerment.
Some of our initiatives, struggles, and participation so far:
National Education Policy: ‘Some Inputs for Draft Education Policy 2016’ was yet another tool to engage with policy makers and the government. Nirantar critiqued the policy and provided inputs from a feminist perspective to other organisations that were also collectively engaging with this new development.
Recommendations on National Education Policy 2016 - Nirantar Trust
Violence against Women (VAW) and Gender-based Violence (GBV): Nirantar frequently takes up issues of VAW and GBV, along with other women’s groups, organising press conferences, participating in fact-finding missions, engaging with State-sponsored agencies such as the National Commission for Women and much more. Our constant efforts have been towards broadening the structure and discourses around VAW and developing a clearer understanding of how gender norms lead to violence under GBV, not just for women but other genders too, on national and international platforms.
We have been actively involved in the law reform processes related to the Criminal Law Amendment Bill on Sexual Assault, along with other women’s groups, child rights group, queer groups and many individuals.
Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault: Nirantar is part of 'Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault’, a group of individuals and organisations that come together to speak out against the culture of sexual violence against women and girls in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon. This group organises regular protests in public places such as malls and metro stations, raising these issues with the public as well as the administration and police.
Voices against 377: Nirantar is an active member of ‘Voices against 377’ - a coalition of NGOs and progressive groups based in Delhi, working to raise awareness on issues related to same sex-desiring and transgender people. More recently, Voices has been involved in the law reform processes related to the decriminalisation of all forms of consensual sex between adults, i.e. the changes in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. ‘Voices’ is a unique forum: it is located at a point of intersection and dialogue between various social movements, where a united voice is being articulated against Section 377.
Engaging with CEDAW: As part of our advocacy work to push for policies, programmes and sufficient resources for empowering educational opportunities for women and girls, we engaged intensively with civil society processes related to CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women), an international convention to which India is a signatory. Nirantar coordinated the writing of the education section of the CEDAW Shadow Report submitted in 2006. We organised a series of three national-level consultations between 2003 and 2004 for this purpose, which identified current concerns in gender and education, the issues to be highlighted, and the framework for analysis. NAWO (National Alliance of Women’s Organisations) coordinated the writing of the shadow report. Nirantar was part of the delegation that attended the CEDAW meeting in New York in January 2007. Several of the issues pertaining to education have found mention in the Concluding Comments of the CEDAW Committee’s report.
Read Nirantar's contribution to the CEDAW Shadow report here
Other Campaigns: Members of Nirantar as well its field programmes, Sahajani Shiksha Kendra and Khabar Lahariya (now both independently registered organisations) have attended and contributed to several forums of the Right to Food and Right to Work Campaign. On the issue of right to employment, Nirantar and SSK have allied with other civil society groups in Uttar Pradesh, brought together by the organisation Gender at Work, to impact the policy and practice of NREGA in the state. This has involved increasing the participation of Dalit and Tribal women in the implementation and governance of NREGA, whether as labourers or as worksite supervisors (mates).We have also engaged with campaigns and events protesting communal violence and the rise of fundamentalism. Over the years, Nirantar has participated in and lent support to progressive groups and movements such as the Narmada Bachao Andolan (a campaign against the construction of big dams), and other campaigns for peace and human rights.