Meet the Woman Extraordinaire – Kamla Bhasin

Kamla Bhasin is India’s leading feminist and has been actively engaged with issues related to gender, development, education and several others since 1970. Kamla has worked for the women’s movement for over 35 years and believes words like swamipatihusbandkanya daan will have to go for an egalitarian society to come.

A social scientist by training, Kamla Bhasin has been actively engaged with issues related to development, education, gender, media and several others for over 35 years. She began her work for the empowerment of the rural and urban poor in 1972, with a voluntary organization in Rajasthan, India. From 1976 to 2001, she worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. Her work with FAO’s Freedom from Hunger Campaign/Action for Development was focused on supporting innovative NGO initiatives for development and empowerment of marginalized people, especially women, in South East Asia and South Asia. This entailed organizing trainings and workshops and facilitating networking between NGOs, women’s organizations and people’s organizations.

Currently, Kamla works with Sangat – A South Asian Feminist Network, as an Advisor; with JAGORI, Women’s Resource and Training Centre, New Delhi and Jagori Grameen in Himachal Pradesh as an active member. She is co-chair of the worldwide network, Peace Women Across the Globe and South Asia Coordinator of One Billion Rising.

Being deeply engaged with issues related to gender, development, peace, identity politics, militarization, human rights and democracy, she has explored, and continues to articulate, connections between different issues, and to promote synergies between different movements.

Over the years, she has been conducting participatory, experiential, capacity-building workshops for women and men, focused on gender, sustainable development and human rights. These workshops have been held at the local, national, and South Asian levels, for activists, senior policy makers, bureaucrats, Parliamentarians, police officers, U.N. staff etc. She has documented her training experiences in comprehensive reports, and shared them widely.

She has written extensively on gender, women’s empowerment, participatory and sustainable development, participatory training, media and communication. Most of her books are written for activists and development workers. She has also written a large number of songs and slogans for the women’s movement, books for children, and has created many posters and banners for different movements. Although she do not consider herself a good singer, she insists on singing passionately and spiritedly, wherever and whenever she can.