Expanding Discourses

Count Me IN! Addressing Violence Against Women in South and Central Asia

The movements, feminist spaces, programmes, and policies that we create should include all women. But, they do not! At CREA, we envision a world in which all women are included, counted in, and given equal recognition and respect. This means many things to many people. It means living lives free of violence in communities that are inclusive. It means having equal access to all services, including medical, legal, and educational. It means being able to exercise control over one’s body and life, and have the freedom, the power, and the support to demand sexual and human rights. It means being able to exercise these rights to their full extent and not be discriminated against in law, practice, or policymaking.

 

Count Me IN! is a multidimensional programme that works with girls and women in communities and with civil society organisations to increase their access to power, knowledge, and pleasure, and to decrease their experiences of violence and discrimination. Count Me IN! began in 2008, as a three-year South Asia and Central Asia project, supported by the Dutch Government’s MDG3 Fund. The project focused on the ways gender inequality is manifested, such as violence against women; huge gender gaps in education, health, and employment; practice of son preference; and marginalisation and exclusion of women, particularly young and unmarried girls, female sex workers, disabled women, lesbian women, and trans people. The project addressed these issues through interrelated strategies:

 

  • Count Me IN! Work With Me: strengthening grassroots feminist leadership
  • Count Me IN! Learn About Me: building knowledge on violence against marginalised women
  • Count Me IN! Campaign For Me: campaigning against son preference 

 

Click here to read about the Campaign Against Son Preference. Click here to watch a short video on the Campaign.

 

Building Alliances for Globalising Women's Human Rights: Four Global Dialogues on Women's Human Rights

Through a series of four global dialogues, social change makers, working on diverse issues across the global South, came together to discuss the intersections of women's human rights within their fields of work. Unique features of these global dialogues were that they brought to the fore perspectives from the global South and were facilitated by organisations from the global South.

Building Alliances Globally to End Violence Against Women: The first global dialogue was held in July 2004 at the Rockefeller Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy. The meeting brought together diverse activists who work on issues of violence against women, health, and human rights. The conclusions of the first dialogue are reflected in Building Alliances Globally to End Violence Against Women—The Global Dialogue Series Working Paper, the first working paper of the Global Working Papers series.

Strengthening Spaces: Women's Human Rights in Social Movements: Co-hosted by the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and CREA, the second dialogue followed the tenth AWID International Forum, and took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 31 October–1 November 2005. This dialogue brought together participants who represented diverse movements such as the labour, development, dalit, and women's, health, sexuality, human rights, and indigenous peoples' movements. The dialogue explored how different social movements understand and address women's human rights, the challenges they face, and the progress they have made in working on these issues. The conclusions of the second dialogue are reflected in Strengthening Spaces: Women's Human Rights in Social Movements—The Global Dialogue Series Working Paper, the second working paper of the Global Working Papers series.

Listening To Each Other: A Multigenerational Dialogue on Activism and Women's Rights: A collaborative effort with the Center for Women's Global Leadership and the Youth Coalition, the third dialogue was held in New Jersey, USA, from 1–3 October 2007. It brought together feminist activists from different generations to discuss and share experiences about intergenerational issues affecting feminist movements and organisations, alliance building, and future strategies. The conclusions of the third dialogue are reflected in Listening to Each Other: A Multigenerational Feminist Dialogue—The Global Dialogue Series Working Paper, the third working paper of the Global Working Papers series.

Ain't I A Woman?: A Global Dialogue Between the Violence Against Women and Sex Worker's Movement: CREA, in partnership with the Centre for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalization, organised the fourth dialogue in Bangkok, Thailand, from 12–14 March 2009. It brought together activists from the women's movement and the sex workers' movement to discuss the violence faced by sex workers, why it is ignored by the women's movement, and how it can be addressed by anti-violence against women campaigns. Participants included sex workers, including transgender individuals, donors, people from the women's movement, and sex workers' rights advocates. This was the first time for many people from the violence against women and sex workers rights' movements to gather at a global level to discuss sex work without a heated debate or strong oppositional stances on the issue of sex work as work. The participants shared their knowledge and conviction that sex workers have human rights and that these rights must be protected. The conclusions of this dialogue resulted in the fourth working paper, Ain't I A Woman?: A Global Dialogue Between the Violence Against Women and Sex Worker's Movement—The Global Dialogue Series Working Paper.

 

Sexual Rights: Sexuality and Security at the Turn of the Century: Conversations on Sexual Rights in India

CREA, TARSHI, and Sangama organised a meeting on sexual rights in January 2004. For the first time, a varied set of actors working on issues of sexual rights came together to debate and discuss issues related to working on sexual rights in India. Diverse understandings of sexuality were discussed at the meeting and alliances were forged between varied groups working with women, sexual minorities, people living with HIV/AIDS, sex workers, and others. A Conversation on Sexual Rights in India is a compilation of the presentations and issues raised in the meeting.

 

Films of Desire: Sexuality and the Cinematic Imagination

Films of Desire: Sexuality and the Cinematic Imagination was a four-day event, held from 6–9 March 2007 in collaboration with the South and Southeast Asia Resource Center on Sexuality. It explored the ways in which visual representations—from feature films, short films, documentaries, animation, music videos, and experimental films—engage with ideas of sexuality and gender in South and Southeast Asia. The event addressed the different ways in which desires get articulated; normative and non-normative sexualities get represented; and how different audiences differently interpret the filmmakers' intentions.

The programme featured screenings and panel discussions, combining the aesthetic pleasures of watching films and the intellectual stimulation of debates in a seminar format. The focus was on works, ideas, and cinema from South and Southeast Asia as well as global perspectives. The event helped promote a more complex understanding of issues of representation of gender and sexuality. It also strengthened advocacy strategies that include visual representations, expanding the resource pool of people in South and Southeast Asia who work on issues of sexuality and representation.