Open letter to the government in support of women farmers

Women farmers at Tikri border of the national capital. Large number of women farmers have joined the ongoing protests against the new farm laws.
Women farmers at Tikri border of the national capital. Large number of women farmers have joined the ongoing protests against the new farm laws. Image Courtesy Newsclick

As feminists and women’s rights groups, we stand in support of the farmers’ movement to repeal the draconian farm laws passed by the Central Government, the implementation of which now stand stayed by the Supreme Court of India. We salute our sisters, the women farmers who have led the struggle against the three laws that must be repealed—The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Women farmers have been firmly in the leadership of this struggle, just as much as they lead the process of agriculture itself and bear the burden of crushing farm debts, suicides, shrinking incomes, and ecological disaster that the agrarian crisis has produced. Be it driving tractors to the borders of Delhi, or organising the protest sites, or being the faces of a powerful protest for over two months in the winter cold, braving state repression and state-sponsored negation of women’s participation and contribution to agriculture, women have been indomitable.

Through their inspiring determination, our sisters have staked a claim to the farmers’ movement as a historicised, gender-specific struggle, as women farmers are neither allowed to own land nor acknowledged for their labour in law or policy. Buttressed by the exclusion fostered by predatory neoliberal capitalism, a masculinist framework of agriculture renders women farmers invisible as citizens of a constitutional democracy, reducing them merely to belongings that must be dispatched home. For women farmers, participation in this struggle is not an option from which they may exit, it is a matter of their bare survival. They argue that just as the draconian labour codes do not recognise domestic workers as workers, these farm laws imperil their very existence, by multiplying their vulnerability manifold as they have neither access to, claim institutional credit nor farming subsidies.

The Census 2011 shows that 65.1% women workers work in agriculture either as cultivators or labourers, while the PLFS (2017-2018) shows that 73% of all the rural female workers are agriculturists. These laws will impact small, marginal and women farmers the worst. The dismantling of the APMC will mean that farmers will not be able to negotiate prices. The laws in redefining the trade area outside the mandi pushes the entry of big corporations and a pernicious eco-system which will deny access, mobility and equality to women farmers, cultivators, tenants and agricultural labourers. These laws propose to de-regulate food supply systems and invite big corporates into the grain trade. Women farmers are also fighting for food security for the Essential Commodities Act 2020 proposes that cereals, pulses, and potatoes should be removed from the list of essential commodities. The contract farming envisaged under these laws would be that women dependent on small or marginal holdings, either as direct cultivators or tenants would be highly disadvantaged in negotiating contracts be this knowledge, power or market acuity. Shockingly, farmers or anyone representing them will also not have any recourse to the jurisdiction of appellate courts to challenge contracts that dupe them or force them into landlessness and penury.

We join our voices to those of our protesting sisters, in their fierce and public proclamation of women farmers’ rights as equal citizens, who have the right to welfare, the right to livelihood, the right to protest injustice, and the right not to be erased from the processes of making law and policy.

We want the government to know that:
We, the women of India, stand with women farmers to repeal the draconian farm laws.
We, the women of India, stand with Dalit and Adivasi landless women farmers for their rights over common land and resources.
We, the women of India, stand for a constitutional democracy for women, by women and as women.
We, the women of India, stand with all political prisoners and human rights defenders.
We, the women of India, will defend our right to life, liberty, equality, privacy, and protest.
We, the women of India, will speak, protest, dissent against every injustice, every draconian law, every pogrom.
We, the women of India, will speak truth to power.

In solidarity with women farmers at the borders of Delhi, the undersigned pledge their support:

  1. Aanchal Kapur,
  2. Aarthi M
  3. Abhijit Roy, Jadavpur University
  4. Aditi, IIIT- Hyderabad
  5. Aditi Thakur, Research scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  6. Ajita, WSS
  7. Akansha, Mumbai University
  8. Akhila,
  9. Amala Dasarathi,
  10. Ambika, Freelance legal editor
  11. Amita, Advocate
  12. Amita Pitre,
  13. Ammu Abraham, Forum Against Oppression of Women, People’s Union for Civil Liberties Maharashtra
  14. Amol Kerkar, Stree Mukti Sanghatana
  15. Amrita Chhachhi,
  16. Amrita Johri, SNS
  17. Anamika Haksar, Theatre film director
  18. Anand K Sahay, Media
  19. Anandhi, Researcher
  20. Anchita Ghatak, Maitree
  21. Angana Prasad,
  22. Angelie Multani,
  23. Ania Loomba, Progressive India collective
  24. Anikhit Mangrati,
  25. Anita Cheria, OpenSpace
  26. Anita Cherian, Ambedkar University Delhi
  27. Anita Kapoor,
  28. Anita Rego, Consultant
  29. Anitha C T,
  30. Anjali,
  31. Anjali,
  32. Anjali Bhardwaj, SNS
  33. Ankit Chettri,
  34. Ankita Mukherji,
  35. Annie Koshi,
  36. Annie Namala, WNTA
  37. Annie Raja, National Federation of Indian Women
  38. Anomita Sen,
  39. Antara Dev Sen, Journalist
  40. Anu Verma,
  41. Anupama Roy, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  42. Anuradha,
  43. Anuradha GR, Dwarka Women’s Collective
  44. Anusha Khan, Documentary filmmaker
  45. Anwesh Bhattacharya, ESPCI Paris
  46. Aparajita mathew, student
  47. Aparna Mahiyaria, Indian Cultural Forum
  48. Apoorva Bakshi, Producers Guild
  49. Apurva Vivek, Jharkhand High Court
  50. Archana Prasad
  51. Archana Kaul, Srijanatmak Manushi Sanstha
  52. Areet Kaur,
  53. Aritry Das
  54. Arjun Raina
  55. Arpita Chakrabarty
  56. Arun Kumar
  57. Aruna Burte
  58. Aruna Gnanadason, National Convener Indian Christian Women’s Movement
  59. Arundati, Designer
  60. Arundhati Dhuru, National Convenor National Alliance of People’s Movements
  61. Arunima G, Kerala Council for Historical Research
  62. Ashalatha S, Makaam
  63. Ashima Roy Chowdhury, Saheli Women’s Resource Center, New Delhi
  64. Ashwini and Mariya, Zariya: Women’s Alliance for Dignity and Equality
  65. Atul Sood, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  66. Avantika Srivastava
  67. Avni Sejpal, Progressive India Collective
  68. Ayesha Kidwai, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  69. Ayush
  70. Basanti, Uttarakhand Mahila Manch
  71. Beena Pallical, NCDHR
  72. Bela Bhatia
  73. Bharti Ali, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights
  74. Bhaswati Chakravorty
  75. Bhaswati Sarmah
  76. Bhoomika Prakash Garud
  77. Bishakha Bhanja
  78. Bittu K R, WSS
  79. Brinda Adige, ICWM
  80. Chandrasmita Choudhuri, All India Progressive Women’s Association
  81. Chayanika Shah, Forum Against Oppression of Women, Mumbai
  82. Chhaya Datar
  83. Chhitra Subramaniam
  84. Chinmayee
  85. Dayana Mary, Dayana Mary
  86. Debdeep Chatterjee, Concordia UniversityMontreal
  87. Debjani Bhattacharya,
  88. Deblina, O.P. Jindal Global University
  89. Deepa, Delhi
  90. Deshdeep Dhankhar, Student activist
  91. Dev Desai, Anhad
  92. Diamond Oberoi, university academic
  93. Dimple Oberoi Vahali
  94. Dipannita Saha
  95. Dipika Jagatram Sahani
  96. Divyani Motla, University of Toronto
  97. Dr Subhan Khan, Patron Mewat Development Society
  98. Kaustav Banerjee, Ambedkar University Delhi
  99. Ruth Manorama, National Federation of Dalit Women
  100. Sukanya Kanarally
  101. Sushi Kadanakuppe
  102. Sylvia Karpagam, Public health doctor
  103. Mohan Rao, Researcher, Bangalore
  104. Dwaraka Pandurangi
  105. E Rati Rao, All India Progressive Women’s Association
  106. Ein Lall
  107. Esther
  108. Esther Chandy
  109. Faraz Ahmad, Freelance journalist
  110. Farida Khan,
  111. Feminists in Resistance, Kolkata,
  112. Frans Manjali, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  113. Gabriele Dietrich, National Alliance of People’s Movements
  114. Gauri Sathe
  115. Gayatri Sinha
  116. Gazala Azad
  117. Geeta Mahajan, National Federation of Indian Women
  118. Geeta Ramaseshan
  119. Geeta Seshu, Journalist, Mumbai
  120. Girija, Activist
  121. Girija Gupte
  122. Githa Hariharan, Indian Cultural Forum
  123. Govind Kelkar
  124. Gudiya, Activist
  125. Guriya Singh
  126. Gurjeet Kaur
  127. Gurpreet Kaur, Researcher
  128. Harpreet Kaur
  129. Harsh Mander
  130. Hasina Khan, women activist
  131. Helen Saldanha
  132. Ila Dalwai
  133. Indrani Mukherjee, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  134. indu prakash singh, CityMakers Mission International
  135. Jahnvi Andharia
  136. Janani
  137. Jarjum Ete, All India Union of Forest Working People
  138. Jashodhara Dasgupta
  139. Jaya Iyer, Mridha
  140. Jaya Menon, SNU
  141. Jaya Sagade
  142. Jayanta Dwibedi
  143. Jayanti Mankodi
  144. Jayati Ghosh, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  145. Jenny Jose
  146. Jenny Shabnam
  147. Jhansi Rani, Slum Mahila Sanghatane
  148. Jinee Lokaneeta
  149. Johanna Lokhande
  150. Jooneed Jeeroburkhan, Human Rights Activist
  151. Julia George, Lawyer
  152. K Uma
  153. Chamaraj
  154. Sajaya, Women and Transgender Organisations JACC
  155. Kabi, Forum Against Oppression of Women
  156. Kalpana
  157. Kalpana Viswanath
  158. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Punjab Women Collective
  159. Kamini Tankha
  160. Kamla Bhasin, Freelance
  161. Karen Gabriel, Delhi University
  162. Karen Joan Ribeiro
  163. Kaveri Bharath
  164. Kavita Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association
  165. Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties
  166. Keshto
  167. Keval Arora, Delhi University
  168. Khushboo Jain
  169. Koel Chatterji, Feminists in Resistance
  170. Komal Mohite, McGill University
  171. KP Singh
  172. Kumkum Roy
  173. Kumud Chaudhary
  174. Kusum, All India Network of Sex Workers
  175. Lakshmi, Quintiles
  176. Lakshmi krishnamurty,
  177. Lamin Bomzon
  178. Lara Jesani, People’s Union for Civil Liberties
  179. Lata Pratibha Madhukar, Bahujan Sanvad
  180. Lata Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  181. Lawrence
  182. Leena Dabiru
  183. Leila Passah
  184. Lekha Bhagat, Ceramist
  185. Lisa Thomas, O P Jindal University
  186. Mandakini
  187. Madhavi
  188. Madhavi Menon
  189. Madhu Bhushan, Gamana Mahila Samuha
  190. Madhu Sahni, Jawaharlal Nehru Unversity
  191. Madhusree Dutta, Filmmaker, author
  192. Maimoona Mollah
  193. Maini Mahanta, Editor, Nandini Pratibimb group of publications, Guwahati, Assam
  194. Malarvizhi
  195. Malika Virdi, Uttarakhand Mahila Manch
  196. Mallarika Sinha Roy, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  197. Mallika Prasad, Actors Ensemble India Forum
  198. Mamta Singh, Social Activist
  199. Manavi
  200. Manidipa Sen, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  201. Manisaha Majumdar, Student
  202. Manisha Gupte, Feminist Activist
  203. Manisha Pradhan, Salesian College Siliguri
  204. Manisha Thami
  205. Marcia DCunha, ICWM
  206. Margaret Gonsalves
  207. Mary, Research scholar
  208. Mary John, Women’s Studies
  209. Maya Krishna Rao, Theatre Artist
  210. Meena Saraswathi Seshu
  211. Meenakshi Shedde
  212. Meenakshi Sundriyal
  213. Meghna Dasgupta
  214. Meghna Mehra, All India Queer Association
  215. Mercy V Guite, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  216. Migita D’cruz, Psychiatrist
  217. Miloon Kothari, Former Special Rapporteur, UN Human Rights Council
  218. Minakshi Singh, Unity in Christ
  219. Mini Bedi
  220. Miriam Joseph
  221. Miriam Paul
  222. Misuni
  223. Mohd Abuzar, Anhad
  224. Molshri Ezekiel
  225. Monika, Research scholar
  226. Monisha Behal
  227. Moushumi Basu, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  228. Mridula Mukherjee, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  229. Mukta Srivastava, Right to Food campaign
  230. Nalini Nayak, Protsahan
  231. Nancy Girdhar
  232. Nandini Sundar, sociologist
  233. Nandini Nayak
  234. Nandini Rao
  235. Nandita G. Xavier, Gramaantara
  236. Nandita Gandhi
  237. Nandita Narain, Delhi University
  238. Navaneetha Mokkil, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  239. Navnita Behera
  240. Navrose, National Alliance of People’s Movements & Ambedkar University
  241. Navsharan Singh
  242. Nayana V, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  243. Nazneen Shaikh, Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar Seva Bhavi Sanstha.Dhule
  244. Neelakshi Suryanarayan, Delhi University
  245. Neelanjana Mukhia
  246. Neema Chaurasiya, university of Delhi
  247. Neha Sood
  248. Neha Vyas, Artist
  249. Nidhi Gulati, Delhi University
  250. Nikita Prasad, Student
  251. Nilanjana Sengupta,
  252. Nilanju Dutta, Activist
  253. Nina Rao, Delhi University
  254. Niranjani Iyer
  255. Nirmala Rebello
  256. Nisha Biswas
  257. Nisha Verma, National Vice President at Kisaan Manch
  258. Niti Saxena
  259. Nivedita Menon, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  260. Noella De Souza, Satyashodak, Indian Christian Women’s Movement.
  261. A.Devi, Cultural activist
  262. Padma Rani
  263. Pallabi Chakravorty, Progressive India Collective
  264. Pamela Philipose
  265. Pankti
  266. Parnal Chirmuley, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  267. Parull Gossain
  268. Payoshni Mitra
  269. Ponnuthai, Kalanjium Women farmers Association
  270. Poonam Kaushik, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan Delhi
  271. Prabha Pandey
  272. Praditya Lama
  273. Prakhya CV
  274. Pranamika Saikia, Manab Adhikaar Sangraam Samiti, Jorhat, Assam
  275. Prasanthi, Activist
  276. Pratiksha Baxi, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  277. Pratikshya Mishra
  278. Praveen Kolluguri, International Solidarity for Academic Freedom In India
  279. Priya
  280. Priyaleen, Conservation architect
  281. Priyanka Samy
  282. Priyanka Singh
  283. Pushpa S, Swaraj Abhiyan/ Social Activist
  284. Meera, MAKKAM
  285. Ramani
  286. Rachana Mudraboyina, Transgender rights activist
  287. Radha Ramesh, Director
  288. Rahul Roy, Indian Statistical Institute
  289. Rahul Varma, Teesri Duniya Theatre, Montreal
  290. Rajarajeshwari ಜೋಶಿ3
  291. Rajashri Dasgupta
  292. Rajshri
  293. Rakhi Sehgal, Labour researcher and activist, Delhi
  294. Ramesh Dixit, President Samvidhan Bachao Desh Bachao Abhiyan Uttar Pradesh
  295. Ramlath Kavil,
  296. Ranjana Padhi, Feminist activist
  297. Ranjita Biswas, Psychiatrist and queer feminist activist
  298. Rashida Paghdiwala
  299. Ratna, Associate Professor
  300. Ratnam Rosemary
  301. Reena Mohan
  302. Rekha
  303. Rekha Rajan, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  304. Rekha Rautela, Uttarakhand Mahila Manch
  305. Richa Garg
  306. Riddhi Dastidar, Khabar Lahariya
  307. Rita Manchanda, South Asia Forum for Human Rights
  308. Roop Rekha Verma, Saajhi Duniya
  309. Rosemary Ratnam
  310. Roshmi Goswami, Feminist human rights activist
  311. Ruchi Kapoor
  312. Rukaiya
  313. Rukshana Tabassum
  314. Rumi Harish, Alternative law 6
  315. Rupal Oza
  316. Rupali Francesca Samuel, Women in Criminal Law Association
  317. Rupsa Mallik
  318. Sabala
  319. Sadaf Jafar, INC
  320. Sadiya Shaikh, Activist
  321. Saeesh Mangwani, McGill University
  322. Sagarika Ghatak
  323. Saheli women’s resource centre, New Delhi,
  324. Samden Tshering Tamang
  325. Sancia Sequeira
  326. Sandesh Gaikwad, Activist
  327. Sandhya Gokhale, Forum Against Oppression of Women
  328. Sandhya Panaskar, Activist
  329. Sangeeta Gandhe, Writer
  330. Sangeeta Rege, Health researcher
  331. Sanghmitra, Ambedkar University Delhi
  332. Sania Hashmi, Anhad Films
  333. Sanjana Shajan, Academic
  334. Sanjida Arora, CEHAT
  335. Sannuthi
  336. Sanskriti Rajkhowa, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  337. Sargam Sharma, Student
  338. Sarojini Nadimpally, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan
  339. Sasi Kumar, Climate Kerala
  340. Saswati Ghosh, City College, Kolkata
  341. Saumya Baijal
  342. Savita
  343. Seema Kulkarni
  344. Sehba Farooqui, Political activist
  345. Sehjo Singh
  346. Sejal, Woman’s rights activist
  347. Sejal Anand Dand, Anna Surakha Adhikar Abhiyan Gujarat
  348. Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad
  349. Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South
  350. Shambhavi Prakash, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  351. Shameera Ashroff
  352. Shantha Sinha
  353. Sharda Mohan Wadekar, Mahatma Phule Samata Pratishstan Pune
  354. Sharifa Siddiqui
  355. Sharonee
  356. Shashi Kala Saroj, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  357. Sheba Chhachhi
  358. Sheba George, Social work
  359. Sheelu Francis, Women’s Collective
  360. Sherna Dastur
  361. Shevanti Narayan
  362. Shewli Kumar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  363. Shillpi A Singh, Dwarka Women’s Collective
  364. Shivakimari
  365. Shivananda R.S
  366. Shivani Bhardwaj
  367. Shraddha
  368. Shreya Singh
  369. Shruti Chettri, Salesian College Sonada
  370. Shruti Sharma
  371. Shubhangi, Human rights lawyer
  372. Shukla Sawant, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  373. Simona Sawhney
  374. Sister Latifa, Movement for Justice
  375. Smita Gupta, Activist and Economist
  376. Sneh Gurung
  377. Soma Marik, RKSM Vivekananda Vidya Bhavan
  378. Sonali Biswas, Shramajibi Mahila Mancha, AITUC, West Bengal
  379. Sonia Kidwai
  380. Sreekala MG
  381. Sridevi
  382. Sriparna Das
  383. Srirupa Roy
  384. Stree Jagruti Samiti
  385. Subha Mukherji, University of Cambridge
  386. Subhash Lomte, Hind Majdoor Sabha / jai Kisan Andolan – Swaraj Abhiyan
  387. Subuhi Jiwani
  388. Sucharita Sen, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  389. Sucheta, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  390. Sudha
  391. Sudha Goparaju, Activist
  392. Sudha N
  393. Sudha Rani
  394. Sujata, Forum Against Oppression of Women
  395. Sujata Patel, Savitribai Phule Pune University
  396. Sujata Raghavan
  397. Sumitra, Advocate
  398. Suneeta Dhar, Activist
  399. Sunil Kumar Aledia, National Forum for Homeless Housing Rights-NFHHR
  400. Sunila Singh
  401. Sunita Sheel
  402. Supriya Chaudhuri, Jadavpur University
  403. Supriya Jan, Right to Pee campaign Mumbai
  404. Suraj Pawar, Student
  405. Susan Visvanathan, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  406. Sushama, Sampark Samiti Pune
  407. Sushma Veerappa
  408. Sushms, ICWM
  409. Sutanuka Ghosh, Jadavpur University
  410. Svati Joshi, Delhi University
  411. Swati Birla, Thane
  412. Swatija, Forum Against Oppression of Women
  413. Sweta Dash
  414. Sweta Singh, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
  415. Syeda Hameed
  416. Tallulah D’Silva, Architect
  417. Tara bai Marathe
  418. Taranjit Kaur
  419. Tarik Monowar, Mirik College
  420. Tehzeeb Khurana
  421. Teresa Kotturan, Sisters of Charity Federation
  422. Uma Bhrugubanda, EFL University, Hyderabad
  423. Uma Shankari
  424. Uma V Chandru, Bangalore
  425. Usha Seethalakshmi
  426. Sujatha, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  427. Vahida Nainar
  428. Vandana Kulkarni
  429. Vanita Mukherjee
  430. Varini G
  431. Varna Sri Raman
  432. Vasudha Nagaraj, Advocate
  433. Veena
  434. Vibha Deshpande
  435. Vibhuti Patel, Retired academic
  436. Vimala Morthala, Activist
  437. Vimala R
  438. Vinata Nanda, The Daily Eye
  439. Vineeta Bal, Academic, Pune
  440. Vinod Raja, Film maker
  441. Vinyasa
  442. Vrinda Grover, Lawyer