Demystifying knowledge & dissemination of information enabled ordinary women to take extraordinary actions to gain control over their body.
Women eat last and least
Have no control over assets and resources
Work eighteen hours a day without a holiday;
Bear and rear children.
Reproductive Health has been the foundation of Action India’s Women’s Program. In 1984, with the guidance of doctors, we trained twenty community-based women to develop a holistic and feminist approach to health. The program, in its widest context, works to change the status of women through gender consciousness, nutrition, and fertility awareness. Our community health workers (CHWs) continue their work in numerous communities surrounding Delhi. As they learn and put their knowledge to practice, they pass on their learning to other women—a process that works through a multiplier effect.
Groups of ten to twelve women meet once a week with an Action India community-based health worker for six months regularly. Approximately 300 women are reached every year. Our program covers the gamut of a woman’s life cycle – her body, her creative potential, and her freedom of choice.
We disseminate information about safe contraception, and the pros and cons of contraceptive options. We insist on the right to make our own decision about when and how many children we want. We inform women about population control—our research on the impact of sterilization on women’s health reveals that poor women are made the targets of population control.
Health, nutrition and gender are all intricately connected to the construction of food. Situated in the kitchen, women from different regions share their culinary practices and the medicinal values of spices and food. Apni Rasoi is a weekly program conducted in four sessions over forty weeks, bringing together the voices of 400 women per year.
We began four centers in the resettlement colonies of Delhi for women of all religions and castes to come together to learn about health. Women gather to speak about marital concerns, gynecological ailments, and general health problems, without shame or hesitation.
No health program can be effective without addressing the questions of domestic violence and sexual harassment, unemployment and questions of livelihood, migration, and displacement. We began our Women, Law, and Social Change program to delve more deeply into these issues.