Tackling women’s rights in India

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In India as in many other parts of the world, women face challenges when it comes to having their rights recognised and upheld. In a small village I visited in West Bengal, I was moved to see the work that was being done to empower Muslim women to buck tradition and leave their homes when their culture dictates that they should not be allowed to do so without a male family member or spouse accompanying them. Halima, photographed here, started out as one woman who, with support from ActionAid, went door to door to encourage women in her community to join  a local women’s group she hoped to set up. Here they would become educated and knowledgeable about their rights as well as the Government entitlements available to them and their families. What started as one woman facing a whole host of obstacles has grown into a movement. Over a thousand women have now joined one of many women’s groups that have been established and they have held their first ever conference in the region specifically for muslim women.