Kerala Mahila Samakya Society
The Mahila Samakhya programme was initiated in 1987-1989 to translate the goals of National policy on Education and Empowerment of women in rural areas, particularly of women from socially and economically marginalised groups. The MS programme covers 11 states including Kerala. The State Programme Director heads the operations of the society.
“Education will be used as an agent of basic change in the status of woman. In order to neutralise the accumulated distortions of the past, there will be a well-conceived edge in favour of women. The National Education System will play a positive, interventionist role in the empowerment of women. It will foster the development of new values through redesigned curricula, textbooks, the training and orientation of teachers, decision-makers and administrators, and the active involvement of educational institutions. This will be an act of faith and social engineering…”: NPE, 1986.
The National Policy on Education, 1986 recognised that the empowerment of women is possibly the most critical pre-condition for the participation of girls and women in the educational process. The Mahila Samakhya programme was launched in 1988 to pursue the objectives of the National Policy on Education, 1986. It recognised that education can be an effective tool for women’s empowerment, the parameters of which are:
- enhancing self-esteem and self-confidence of women;
- building a positive image of women by recognizing their contribution to the society, polity and the economy;
- developing ability to think critically;
- fostering decision making and action through collective processes;
- enabling women to make informed choices in areas like education, employment and health (especially reproductive health);
- ensuring equal participation in developmental processes;
- providing information, knowledge and skill for economic independence;
- enhancing access to legal literacy and information relating to their rights and entitlements in society with a view to enhance their participation on an equal footing in all areas.
The Mahila Samakhya programme was initiated in 1987-1989 to translate the goals of National policy on Education and Empowerment of women in rural areas, particularly of women from socially and economically marginalised groups. The MS programme covers 11 states including Kerala.
Education in Mahila Samakhya is understood not merely as acquiring basic literacy skills, but as a process of learning to question, critically analysing issues and problems and seeking solution. It endeavours to create an environment for women to learn at their own pace, set their own priorities, seek knowledge and information facilitating informed choices. It seeks to bring about a change in women’s perception about themselves and of society in regard to women’s “traditional roles”.
Mahila Samakhya works to garner women energies to collectively solve their problems and empower them to address issues themselves through Mahila Sanghas at the grassroot level.