Kavita Krishnan | Power and Patriarchy in India: How State-led ‘Women’s Empowerment’ Undermines Women’s Movements | 7 Feb, 5-7PM SOAS

1st Feb 2017

Kavita Krishnan (Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, India)

Power and Patriarchy in India: How State-led ‘Women’s Empowerment’ Undermines Women’s Movements

Tuesday, 7 February, 5-7PM

Room: Alumni Lecture Theatre (ALT), Room 110, Senate House North Block, SOAS


Does the state confer ’empowerment’ on women? Can it ’empower’ without acknowledging and resisting the structures that ‘disempower’ women? In India, state-led ‘women’s empowerment’ campaigns often draw on and reinforce patriarchal ideology. Campaigns against sexual violence, sex-selective abortion, girls’ education, family planning and contraception, sanitation and health, avoid invoking women’s own autonomy, and are silent on caste as well as on discrimination and the exploitation faced by women at work. Instead these campaigns approve of patriarchal entitlement – of the right of men, families, communities and the state to control and surveil the lives of women. State-led campaigns often partner with global funding agencies. How do such funding agencies frame their campaigns targeting Indian women? When Indian feminist movements address gender violence and discrimination their emphasis is very different from the campaigns conducted by the state and funding agencies. A close look at the latter reveals how they undermine the central concerns of feminist movements in India.


Kavita Krishnan is an Indian Marxist feminist and communist activist. She is Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) and a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist). The AIPWA organises Indian women and has led many struggles of women, most notably struggles of women workers in rural and urban India.


All welcome, no need to book but please do arrive early to be sure of a seat. Details of all events in the seminar series are provided on this link: We look forward to seeing you there.