The Working Women's Forum: a counter–culture by poor women
The Working Women's Forum in South India is a remarkable organisation with some 36,000 members, all of them poor working women. They are both urban and rural, and include marketeers, women who sell services, and women who work at home - beedi and agarbathi makers, laceworkers and others. Poor working women suffer five oppressions against which the WWF enables them to struggle - class exploitation, caste inferiority, male dominance, physical weakness, and a closed world. The WWF is a counter-culture, of reversals, turning pillars of normal Indian culture on their heads - class, caste, male dominance, hierarchy and directions of learning. To multiply its impact to touch more of the tens of millions of oppressed poor women in India involves decisions about priorities. One major question is whether others could learn with and from the Forum and start similar organisations elsewhere.