Freeing people from exploitative and deprived situations—that's the task Mumbai-based Resource and Support Centre for Development (RSCD) set out for itself in 1994. A key area of the organization's work has been women's participation in politics and governance.
In 2000, RSCD held a convention in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra which was attended by 1,500 elected women representatives from different parts of Maharashtra. They had come together to discuss women's role in governance and soon after, the Mahila Rajsatta Andolan (MRA) was born.
Since then, MRA has helped build political consciousness among women, as well as empowered women representatives of gram panchayats by setting up a distance education programme for them in 25 districts. It has also conducted mahila gram sabhas (village-level women's meetings) and yuvati sunwais (public hearings of and by young women).
Because of RSCD's and MRA's work, women are now at the forefront of local political movements. Resource and Support Centre for Development's efforts remind us that a true democracy is incomplete without the participation of its women.
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