People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 06, 2008
AT the initiative of the All India State Govt Employees’ Federation (AISGEF), a National Convention of Working Women was successfully held at Mumbai on December 8-9, 2007, at Chetna College Complex, Bandra (East). The venue was named ‘Sabitribai Phoole Nagar’ for the purpose.
From all over the country, more than 1300 women delegates and about 100 male delegates attended the convention. The proceedings of the convention were conducted by a seven-member presidium consisting of Tamil Selvi (Tamilnadu), K P Mary (Kerala), Asha Kalra (Rajasthan), Reba Mukherjee (West Bengal), M Vijayvani (AP), Sheetal A Gupte (Maharashtra) and Jaya Barman (Tripura).
The convention was inaugurated by eminent social activist and ex-Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, Mrinal Gore. Dr Vijaya Wade, Dr Rekha Davar and Dr Pushpa Bhabe were amongst the eminent speakers at the convention. Along with them, M Girija (All India Insurance Employees’ Association) and Lalita Joshi also delivered educative speeches, narrating their valuable experiences.
The discussion papers in English and Hindi were presented by Tamil Selvi and Asha Kalra respectively. 48 delegates deliberated on it. All the discussions were summed up by Sukomal Sen, general secretary, AISGEF. The discussion paper detailed out, in the context of Indian Women workers, the attack inflicted by globalisation on them, the influence of superstition, issues relating to equal rights, emancipation from capitalist exploitation, struggle for social justice by the male and women workers and the leadership of the unions in greater number from among the women workers in the trade union front, 33 per cent reservation for women in legislatures etc. It was subsequently adopted unanimously by the convention, enriched with necessary additions and modifications.
The two-day long convention ended by thanks giving notes moved by Sheetal A Gupte, convenor of the Women Sub-Committee of the Confederation of Maharashtra Govt Employees and Sunil Joshi, general secretary of the Confederation.
At the end, cultural teams of Tripura and Maharashtra staged their presentations in the evening of December 8. Besides this, cultural programmes were staged in the luncheon intervals by the cultural troupes of different states.
The grand success of this convention held at the initiative of AISGEF will be regarded as a milestone in the history of state government employees’ struggle for women’s emancipation.
It may be noted here in this connection that the first national convention of working women was organised by AISGEF at Madurai, Tamilnadu in 2001. This year, representatives from as many as 19 states – from Kashmir to Manipur attended the convention.
It is to be noted also that under the leadership of the AISGEF the All India Women Sub-Committee and the state-level sub-committees have been tirelessly endeavouring to organise and heighten the consciousness of women state government employees. Besides, it has become the practice of the AISGEF to ear-mark a particular day of its national conferences for women’s session for the working women. This has resulted in facilitating to organise women employees into the fold of AISGEF and develop their level of consciousness.