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Women • India • Social Reform: Limitations and Potentials of Law as an Instrument of Social Reform
April 15, 2008 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
A Lecture by Madhu Purnima Kishwar.
One of the great challenges faced by social reform movements in India is the big and growing gap between legislation on various issues and the actual practices prevalent in society. Many people interpret this discrepancy as a sign of “the continuing hold of traditional values and customs” and expect that as women become educated and aware of their rights, they will inevitably move in the direction of following “modern laws” enacted for their benefit. This presentation will deal with some of the inherent flaws in legislation aimed at strengthening women’s rights in India which make their honest implementation virtually impossible. As illustrative examples Ms Kishwar will deal with anti dowry legislation, laws against domestic violence and the Women’s Reservation Bill.
Madhu Purnima Kishwar is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, India. She is the founding editor of Manushi, a journal about women and society published since 1979. Manushi attempts to bridge the gap between academia and activism. Ms. Kishwar is the author of several books and articles including Deepening Democracy: Challenges of Governance and Globalization in India, Rethinking Gender Justice for Indian Women, Religion at the Service of Nationalism and Other Essays, and Gandhi and Women. She is also the founder-president of Manushi Sangathan, an organization which works for democratic reforms to promote greater social justice and strengthen human rights, especially for women. For more information, visit www.manushi-india.org.