RWA Feminist School Raises Key Issues on Exploitation of Land, Power, Control over Seeds

The Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA) hosted its 3rd annual feminist school on 29 June – 5 July 2017. The theme of this year’s feminist school was Land, seeds and labour: women hold more than half the sky. One of the women who attended the feminist school reflects on the key issues that stood out for her during the feminist school;

Exploitation of land and ignorance of woman as its nurturer
Land grabbing has been around since colonisation and is increasing with the invasion of foreign investors. The dominant factor is that capitalist patriarchy imposes invisible laws. Women, who cultivate the land and make sure that the land fertility is maintained, who make sure that seeds grow properly, are deprived of their right to own land. Is it acceptable?

Power
Power can come in different forms: positional, individual, movement or religious power. It manifests through the influence of decisions, money and land owning. More than often, it is the men who hold the ultimate power or privilege to impose their rules, gain the profits and have all the facilities. Feminism acts as the counter power by building the consciousness of the linkage between power and capitalist patriarchy.

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Ruling of Capitalist Patriarchy over nature
We fail to realise that our natural resources are limited. We are the ones who need nature in order to survive. It is all a give and take relationship and we must not abuse it. Exploitation of the natural world includes oppression of woman. We can’t let unequally distributed economic gain dominate nature.

History? No it is HER story
Her story? We never actually ponder about our story but we are always eager to learn about the story of other people. Writing her seed story had empowered many participants when they reflected about what made them feel connected to their land and seed.

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Control over the seeds
Women are the care-taker of seeds. Those seeds were passed to them from generation to
generation. They are now being taken from them and are modified by the large scale
commercial farmers. All the women want, is to protect their indigenous seeds which are their identity and pillar of life. From seed saving to food sovereignty and food justice, the Rural Women Assembly is making sure that the rights of the small farmers and peasants are recognised.

Effect of violence on land, body and seed
Only a woman and a girl alone has the right to control their bodies.We should work towards a world where women and girls can live without fear, a world where domestic violence does not exist, a world where women and girls are not raped or forced to have unprotective sex, a world where a woman can farm freely on her land and use her indigenous seeds.

*Article was submitted by Oormila Sahodree

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