Resolution on Women’s Movement : Challenges and Tasks

with competition from its counterparts and achieve something only by moving beyond a localised existence and rapidly expanding itself. State and district level organisations of mid-day meal cooks have also been formed. In UP, AIPWA has organised mid-day meal cooks at the district-level in Deoria and led successful struggles that forced the District Magistrate to put a stop to attempts to sack them. There is a great potential to expand such organisations and struggles on a wider scale.

53. When cadres of the women’s organisation organise these
working women, mainly on their urgent, i.e. economic demands, they do not deviate from the cause of women’s movement to economic struggles or economism. On the contrary, they are providing AIPWA with its own independent base, and a growing, dynamic base at that, which can, given proper orientation, serve as an organised contingent of the broader women’s movement. This practice should therefore be encouraged so as to tap the huge potential inherent in this mobile, socially dynamic, relatively educated (in the cases of ASHAs and Anganwadi workers) and militant contingent of working women in a more planned way. Naturally, this requires close political understanding and organisational coordination between the women’s organisation and the TU centre.

54. To develop a broad-based women’s movement it is absolutely necessary to expand our reach among college students and teachers, media women and intellectuals in general. For an organisation like ours, with its main social base among the rural poor, this is a real challenge. The women’s magazines published by us in Hindi, English, Assamese and Bengali should be put to better use for this purpose.

55. In addition to these classes and strata, another section merits our special attention: women people’s representatives in panchayats. Socially and politically active at the grassroots, they can be a very good medium for reaching out to the masses and gathering feedback from the masses. The women’s organisation can hold village level mass meetings and invite all women representatives and candidates to discuss problems routinely faced by women – relating to potable water and health services, for example – as well as political topics like, say, expected and actual roles of women representatives following 50% reservation, panchayats. Post elections, it should encourage and assist women representatives to fight against hidebound traditions as well as caste and gender discrimination, act independently of male ‘guardians’ and forcefully raise women’s issues among general issues of common people.

56. The party has, for long, been concerned about substantially increasing the number of women party members and promoting their ideological-political development to ensure an increase in the number of women cadres and leaders. We must continue to address this challenge with a variety of organisational and educational measures. We need to accord greater emphasis as a communist party (not our women’s organisation alone) to anti-patriarchal struggles. We must also recognise that patriarchal common sense tends to have a stubborn grip on society – and therefore on our rank and file and even our political leadership. Therefore, our political practice needs to be accompanied by relentless and ruthless introspection and conscious efforts to analyse and challenge patriarchal ideology and practices. Only then can we breathe life into progressive and democratic anti-patriarchal ideas and make them a material force that energises our entire movement as well as society at large.