A group of energetic experienced and comparatively young social workers established RAHAT in 2002.
Gender equity is a precondition recognized worldwide for achieving sustainable development. In order to achieve the goal of equity between women and men in all spheres of development, it is essential to design, implement and monitor, with the full participation of women and men, effective and mutually reinforcing gender sensitive policies and programmes. The organisation focuses is on gender rather than on women to ensure that changing women’s status is the responsibility of both sexes. It acknowledges that development affects women and men differently and that it has an impact on relations between women and men. A focus on gender is required to ensure that needs of women and men (set in the broader context of caste, class, ethnicity, race and religion) are given adequate attention.
In indian context, still women have less access to and control over resources. They are also less involved in decision making. A gender analysis reveals that the problems faced by women and men differ as a result of the social construction of their roles. The way this situation can be addressed is though mainstreaming gender. Mainstreaming gender is the process of assessing the implication for women and men in any planned action, including legislation, policies of programmes, in any area and at all levels. It is both a technical and a political process, which requires shifts organization cultures and ways of thinking, as well as in the goal, structure and resource allocations. It requires changes at different levels in the organization from planning to execution.
Women and men have the same status, rights and responsibilities and participating equally at all levels. Gender equality presupposes that the gender roles assigned to women and men are socially constructed and hence changeable many differences between women and men are socially constructed and can be changed rather than being biological differences which cannot be changed.
Is a process being fair to both women and men. To be fair and to assure equity of outcome, measures, must be put in places to compensate for historical and social disadvantaged that prevent women and men from otherwise operating at the same all.
The overall objective of organisational gender policy is to mainstream gender into all its activities and policy decision within the organization and in its projects and programmes.
Gender rights protection group (grpg):
There will be one gender rights protection group at the organizational level. This group will comprise of 4 to 5 persons, one each from the managing committee, core staff, project staff, general body, staff and target community (preferably community women). There will be at least 50% or more females in the gpg. The gender rights protection group will be responsible and accountable for the implementation of the policy. The gender rights protection group will have a number of critical functions including developing an overall plan of implementation of the gender policy for the organization, developing a common analytical methodology for gender analysis and terminology to ensure a coherent approach in incorporating a gender perspective across programmes and implementing a strategy for capacity building across the organization. This committee will sit as per the need and forward recommendation to the managing committee of the organization. The role expected of this group is capacity building, regular accompaniment and analysis of the implementation of the policy fight against any type of sexual harassment or will take up cases of harassment as and when they are reported or brought to light.
The managing committee of the organisation will undertake periodic review to ensure that the gender policy is implemented properly and is achieving its set objectives/goal.
Rahat believes in providing equal opportunities to women in every sphere so that they are equal partners in the development of the society. Our belief of gender equality is strongly embedded in us. Equality between men and women exists when both sexes are able to share equally in distribution of power and influence; have equal opportunities for financial independence through work or through setting up business; enjoy equal access to education, medical attention and the opportunity to develop personal ambitions. The core part of our policies programmes and projects are based on gender policy. This we believe is our basic thought and motivation.
Rahat is committed to the following:
Rahat will try its best to provide the required facilities to the female staff as far as possible as per its capacity and knowledge.
RAHAT envisions a society in which poor and disadvantaged people are developed and self-reliant.
RAHAT is a non-profit, voluntary development organization working in the areas of institution building, income and employment generation, health, human resource development, education and promotion of culture for the disadvantaged segment of the society especially for women, youth, and children.
RAHAT's goal is to establish a people-initiated development process and to ensure socio-economic development of people
RAHAT is committed to follow people's participation, institution building, human rights, gender equity, environment friendliness, poverty alleviation and people's sustainability in achieving its goals.
RAHAT is following a path of organizational sustainability, consistent with people's self-reliance.
Considering development as a complex process, RAHAT encourages partnership and networking with government and other like-minded organizations.
RAHAT has experienced, energetic, dynamic workers and members committed to achieve its goals. It believes in people's capacity and creativity and also in participatory management and is committed to ensure participation at every level.
RAHAT is registered with the GOVT.OF Bihar Under Registration societies Act.XXI-1860 for the month of August in 2002.
The women in Kishanganj are extremely disadvantaged in terms of social and economic development indicators. Their low status in the society is due to low literacy rates, life expectancy, and most importantly lack of access to economic and informational resources. In Kishanganj district patriarchy finds expression in the perceived notions of female dependence and subordination. The practice of patriarchy creates in the minds of woman, whether mother, wife or daughter, a feeling of worthlessness, servitude and dependence within the family. The role of women is characterized by lack of freedom and limit individual development. The existing inequality is deemed to be the outcome of specific social institutions designed to restrain their power: namely, segregation and legal subordination in the family and social structure.
The biological or physical difference between man and woman is often interpreted in accordance with the patriarchal notion that men are superior to women. Patriarchal ideology influences and shapes the sexual division of labor where work is allocated on the basis of sex, within both the home and the workplace. The son is viewed as the sole supporter of his parents in their old age. a daughter on the other hand, merits an altogether different treatment. As a result of the prevailing negative attitude towards the female sex, it is common for mothers -to-be in Kishanganj to suffer from the anxiety over the sex of the unborn child. The desire for sons is so intense that the birth of a daughter can have serious consequences on the marriage itself.
This poor ranking is the result of the relatively low index value arising from the low literacy rates and the low share of earned income of women compared to men. Although, in recent years some attempts were made to bring women into the mainstream of events in Kishanganj, they are yet be incorporated in any significant numbers in the decision-making structures of the country. Women hold less than 2-3 percent of senior positions in the civil service and their representation at the senior levels of the executive, legislature and judiciary is marginal. In terms of ownership of land and assets, men at all levels of society are better off than women, a significant portion of the people living in absolute poverty being women. Households headed by women are among the poorest in the country with 45 percent of female-headed households living below the poverty line.
Gender based violence, which often stems from existing socio-cultural attitudes that regard women as inferior to men, take place in various forms that include wife beating, rape, acid-throwing, trafficking, sexual coercion and harassment, as well as verbal and psychological abuse.
Despite some progress made in recent years, women in Kishanganj continue to suffer severe forms of discrimination. In a culture that places greater value on boys than on girls, women experience discrimination and relative deprivation at every stage of their life cycle. They enjoy fewer rights and have access to fewer opportunities compared to their male counterparts. Women consequently have lower literacy rates, lower incomes, fewer assets and less access to productive resources. Women also experience higher levels of malnutrition and morbidity, female morbidity being 10 percent higher than male. This difference is most pronounced during women's reproductive age (15- 49 years), when morbidity for women is 50 percent higher than for men.
RAHAT considers women as the gateway of bringing any change within the family and community level and so has taken efforts to direct resources and services to them. RAHAT's focus on women is also based on the assumption that women are the main change agents both at the family and community level. Therefore, RAHAT has to address their basic needs and upgrade their economic condition to improve their overall status in the family and community they live in. RAHAT realized that women's mobility, decision-making power, access to resources are all controlled by men in their households and therefore redistribution of power through economic, social and political empowerment of women is essential to bring changes in the status of women.
RAHAT strongly believes that the vital force of every organization is its people who engage in a collective effort to achieve a specific set of objectives. It is they who make the organization a living entity. Keeping this in mind, RAHAT is constantly trying to increase the number of women at all levels of its projects. It was found in a research that once a critical mass of about 30-35% women in the organization, including at decision-making levels, has been achieved the organization as a whole becomes more accountable to the specific needs and interests of women.
Some Guiding Principles followed in formulating RAHAT's Gender Policy
Organizational Level, Program Level, Stakeholders Level
Staff promotion and Transfer:
Programs and Stakeholders Level:
Internal and External Strategy to ensure Gender Equity: