With the first edition of our newsletter, I am extremely excited to share South Asia Women’s Fund’s (SAWF) expansion to South East Asia and Mongolia! Founded in 2004, South Asia Women’s Fund’s focus has been on ensuring resources for women’s rights organisations in the region to enable the realisation of women’s rights agendas. After 12 years of work in South Asia, we had before us a critical opportunity to expand our work and reach out to 18 countries in Asia – which we seized, with full knowledge of the added responsibilities that will entail!
The expansion brings with it larger grant-making, our strengthened ability to link our partners to different ideas, strategies and challenges- therefore, building stronger networks, amplifying feminist voices and ensuring grassroots mobilisation for rights in Asia.
It is no secret that the Sri Lankan economy is being carried on the backs of women, not just those who engage in low paid, insecure, informal sector work, but those who create the enabling environment for others to work – the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, unmarried daughters who do the bulk of the care work – the cooking, cleaning, child care, elder care – only to be classified as “unemployed” in the labour force statistics. This gender division of labour and larger gender discrimination runs deep through our society, propped up by the archaic notions that women are biologically more suited to bring up children, more capable of house work, and better at managing household finances. It also leads to an instrumental view of a woman – a tool which nurtures and protects children, provides direct access to sex for the husband, and maintains the harmony of the household. Within this pretty picture, the woman as an individual with rights, dignity, ambition, dreams and needs of her own, is ignored.Read More