WWF understood that social security measures are the "life-lines" of its members through the findings of its periodic needs-assessment surveys. The structure of WWF revolves around providing security - both socially and economically to its members.
WWF defines social security as being "Empowered" which includes credit facilities, leadership, health and skill training, retirement benefits, health care, disability coverage, childcare, unemployment benefits, business loss, maternity benefits, coverage for expenditure like marriage, education, house construction and repairs, loss due to natural calamities etc.
MICRO INSURANCE SCHEMES OF WWF:
WWF has a tie-up with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and Royal Sundaram Alliance Pvt. Ltd (RSA) for providing social security coverage for its members. This insurance cover to all the clients is being catered through the Indian Co-operative Network for Women (ICNW). The insurance programmes are for life, accident, disability, and health. The health programme also organises preventive health check-up camps in all the services areas of WWF/ICNW operations.
Initially the LIC commenced its life insurance programme for WWF members in 1983. The annual premium was Rs. 3 and the amount of claim in case of natural death only was Rs. 1000. Later in 1990, the premium was revised to Rs. 25 and the claim was increased to Rs. 5000. The watershed moment came in the year 2000, when the then ruling Government at the Centre announced the social security schemes for the workers in the unorganised sector. Thus, the LIC Social Security (LIC-SSS) Scheme and the LIC Janashree Bheema Yojana (LIC-JBY) scheme came into vogue.
LIC Social Security Scheme (LIC-SSS)
Working Women's Forum is a spontaneous social initiative and was born out of an activist commitment to facilitate up-liftment of women by promoting their social and financial independence to fight poverty.
This scheme was started in the year 2000. This policy provides life and disability cover to all its members. The insured needs to be a member of ICNW. The annual premium is Rs. 25. If the member does not pay the premium, it is automatically deducted from the savings account if a minimum balance of Rs. 50 is available. The target group is women members between the ages 18-60 years. The premium is not deducted if the premium of Rs. 100 for the LIC-JBY scheme is paid. The policyholder receives Rs. 12,500 and Rs. 25,000 in case of partial and complete disability respectively. The nominee or the legal heir of the policyholder receives Rs. 5000 in case of natural death and Rs. 25,000 in case of accidental death of the insured.
LIC Janashree Bheema Yojana scheme (LIC-JBY)
The JBY scheme was started in the year 2000. The annual premium is Rs. 100. The benefits are more attractive than the social security scheme. In case of natural death of the member, the nominee gets Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 50,000 in case of accidental death. In case of partial disability, Rs. 25,000 will be paid and in case of total disability Rs. 50,000 will be paid. The unique feature of this scheme is that scholarship benefits are offered for school-going children studying in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th standards. Each family will receive a scholarship amount for 2 children up to Rs. 1200 in a year. However, evidence of two premium payments should be produced and the beneficiary students should have an excellent academic record. LIC will release scholarship payouts based on their administrative norms.
Royal Sundaram Health Insurance Scheme (RSA - HIS)
In order to address the health needs of the women members holistically, an insurance scheme in association with the Royal Sundaram Alliance Pvt Ltd was started in 2001. Members enrolled in the RSA - HIS are entitled to hospitalisation benefits for admission to a private hospital. In case of maternity Rs. 3000 can be claimed. Maternity benefits are allowed up to two children. In case of cataract surgery, a maximum of Rs. 3000 in a year can be claimed. For surgery and other illnesses, a maximum of Rs. 7000 in a year, subject to a maximum of Rs. 5000 for one admission, can be claimed.
Up to 18 years premium is Rs. 65
Between 18-45 years an amount of Rs. 125
Between 45-60 years an amount of Rs. 175
Between 60-75 years an amount of Rs. 210
Royal Sundaram Shakthi Security Shield (RSA-SSS)
On a special request from WWF, Royal Sundaram Alliance Pvt. brought out a scheme exclusively for the benefit of poor women members in 2002. The annual premium is Rs. 34.
In case of accidental death of the insured or spouse or parents/guardian an amount of Rs. 25,000 can be claimed. The member and her husband or parent/guardian dies in accident the legal heir/nominees of the deceased is entitled for the insurance amount of Rs. 50,000. In case of total disability i.e. loss of two limbs, the insured gets a claim of Rs. 25,000 whereas for a loss of one limb or one eye Rs. 12,500 can be claimed.
The scheme also provides cash relief for the period when the insured is temporarily or totally disabled from engaging in any work. Under such circumstances, a sum of Rs. 100 per week subject to a maximum of Rs. 1500 will be paid.
The scheme also has a provision to reimburse hospitalisation expenses arising out of an accident - up to a limit of Rs. 1000. Also, compensation is provided for the loss of or damage to the insured's dwellings and household goods due to natural calamities - up to Rs. 1000 for dwelling and Rs. 500 for contents.
So far, 737235 Premium holders have paid a premium amount of Rs. 2,38,65,880. And 4542 members have benefited to the tune of Rs. 2,53,46,423.
GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
Violence against women is the most disrespectful example of treating women as inferior beings. Such violence manifests as rape, dowry deaths, wife beating, female foeticide, eve-teasing, discrimination of girl child and many forms of domestic violence. Most of them are planned atrocities on women. Such atrocities affect women's dignity; keep women in perpetual sub-ordination, wantonly confining her within the four walls of the house or make her remain closed to the world.
In Working Women's Forum (India) though access to credit and healthcare are important, empowering women against the atrocities and violence is most critical. Women have become courageous to fight through financial independence. The following examples of exploitation of gender violence show how the women members fought violence against women.
Violence against women, including domestic violence, is one of the most serious forms of gender-based violations of human rights. It deprives women of their ability to enjoy fundamental freedoms and represents a serious obstacle to equality between women and men. Despite positive and significant achievements in policies and practices, violence against women in its various forms is still widespread at all levels of society in India.
Prevention of Violence Against Women
How Working Women's Forum (India) works
WWF Program adopts a multi-pronged, pro woman approach women survivors of violence, communities and public systems to make violence a public concern through:
Crisis Intervention and Counseling helping women access appropriate recourse to action (legal, medical help, shelter), while building their confidence and teaching them to negotiate power and control over their own lives.
Prevention and Community Intervention making the issue of gender based violence visible in communities and in public and urging people to stand up, speak out and intervene.
Collaboration and networking with public systems, specifically the police, health and legal systems to sensitively handle women approaching them for help and to offer timely and adequate services.
Advocacy to women on violence against women and Acts
Recognition and acceptance of WWF's work by the Police department
Regular awareness training Programmes.
Succeeded in drawing attention to end violence against women particularly female feticides/infanticide in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu and Devadasis in Bellary, Karnataka.
Resolved over 500 cases of violence against women pertaining to domestic violence, abuse of women, property cases, sexual abuse at work place, dowry cases, etc
Trained and sensitized over one lakh women in 3 southern states in 14 branches.
In West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh women artisans could fight export - monopolies and liquor menace through WWF's effort to promote co-operative for artisans. Many faced economic exploitation.
To describe the poor women's struggle as a process to fight injustice in wages, around 5000 women workers joined together in the year 1988 and presented a memorandum to the Prime Minister at Vellore demanding justice towards payment of stipulated wages as per the rules of Minimum Wages Act of Central Government. The Prime Minister's intervention benefited beedi rollers and those who until then received only Rs.11 for 1000 beedi rolled were able to get Rs.21 per 1000 beedies rolled.
In 1988 the fisherwomen of WWF in Adiramapattinam petitioned to the Prime Minister's office their request was the desilting of a canal that was not repaired for ages that would help them to have easy access to the sea to bring the fish from the sea to the market. Later these fisherwomen with their male counterparts fought and won the battle in the Supreme Court to have access to the sea for 4 days in a week and the others i.e. rich trawler owners to access only for 3 days.
In Dindigul there was an issue pertaining to access of the burial ground where the landlord refused to give his consent, as the path way that leads to the burial ground falls in his land otherwise women have to walk 3 kms., to reach the same through different route. Justice has been done to women by making the land lord to handover the piece of land to the revenue authorities.
Besides these activities the Forum representatives attend /participate in various police committees and conferences. Being one of the members of such committees, the Forum enables itself to bring issues to the notice of higher police authorities the grievances of grass root women regarding violence against women.
GENDER VIOLENCE COUNSELLING
The proportion and seriousness of the consequences require the implementation of some specific assistance services to be provided to the victims of domestic violence. The increasing awareness level regarding the right to one's own thoughts, feelings and perceptions, the developing feeling of control over one's own person, the opening of one's mind, the desire for a change, the trust in one's own decisions are only some of the benefits that the women who are victims of domestic violence can obtain as a result of counselling. The counselling is provided to all ICNW loanees and WWF members before they take a loan. Especially gender violence awareness and solutions are provided.
WWF helps victims who face insecurities from their husbands. Their thoughts of insecurities have a negative impact on their life and families. With the help of WWF counsellors, her challenges were guided and now living her life happily with their husband and family. Our counsellors helped victims who were under a breakdown with the loss of their husbands too. She faced numerous bullying and patriarchy behaviour towards her. With the help of the WWF counsellors, she gained courage and self- esteems to look after herself in the future. Now she is working and living with dignity on her own. Talking to our counsellors, the victims find their way to resolve and recover from their issues and best way to move forward.
Men & Boys come back Gender violence - Independent Commission for People's Rights and Development (ICPRD), the sister of concern of WWF-I has an innovative project were Men and Boys challenge Gender Violence through community mobilization, street theatre, sports, reaching over 1,00,000 direct and indirect stakeholders in Karnataka ( and also earlier in Rajasthan).
In traditional societies, gender based violence and discrimination are major impediments to the empowerment of girls and women. The past approaches of onus only on women to confront these without transforming male attitudes has not been found sustainable in the long term. Without reversing patriarchal thinking or engaging young men/boys as allies and partners in the long road to gender equality, it would be an impossible task to close the gender gap. Transforming the vision of engaging men and boys as vanguards for gender equality on the ground has been through the formation of youth forums against gender based violence (YFAGBV) at the local village level. The belief being that "Women's equity should not be confined to women's agenda but as a community, national and international agenda."
This is a growing movement of re-socialized youth from low income communities that are the vanguard of the women's rights movement in their area. Indeed, this is a unique movement that future male citizens are sensitized to women's rights and gender equality.
Bringing in "men and boys" as part of the solution to gender inequity is a paradigm shift that ICPRD was able to bring into the discourse on addressing issues of violence against women, and enhancing the rights of women and girls. The belief being that gender issues have to be owned and solved by the men and community together rather than the past approach of onus only on the "women as the victim".
Interventions to address Gender Based Violence are usually targeted towards women, be it special reservations, laws, and government schemes benefiting women and girls. In the bargain, this pro-women approach, intended to counter-balance the lopsided situation between men and women in society, often leaves out men in development programmes. World-wide research and reports have shown, however, that to empower women, especially the poorest, it is critical to work with and through men, as well. Men can be engaged in a positive way as allies with women in achieving equality. They can be seen as other than perpetrators of gender discrimination and inequity.
Therefore, it was taken up as a practical test case to find out workable methods and interventions at local level to engage men as allies against gender discrimination and gender based violence through a process of resocialization by ICPRD, working in Karnataka and Rajasthan, India.