However well a democracy may work, recurring social injustice and violence against women continue to centre on poverty. ‘Feminisation of poverty’ is now an undeniable reality of India. Feminisation of poverty refers to women representing a disproportionate share of the world’s poor.

Under the umbrella of the Pension Parishad, Jagori, the National Federation for Indian Women and the Centre for Advocacy and Research focussed on rising violence against women here on Monday. Women from South Delhi, South West Delhi and Bawana participated in the programme, dancing, singing songs and raising slogans to demand an end to violence.

Gargi Chakravarty of the NFIW said women faced multiple forms of violence: child marriage, sex determination, dowry harassment and denial of food, education and work. Women from Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan had come to the capital demanding the immediate passage of the Bill providing 33 per cent reservation for women in the legislature, said NFIW general secretary Annie Raja.

Jagori co-director Geetha Nambisan reiterated that violence against women was rooted in gender discrimination and inequality.

She said men and women who had no opportunity to question gender roles, attitudes and beliefs could not change them, and women unaware of their rights could not claim them.

Rights activist Sejal Dand said elderly women were subjected to violence by family members and the state. “Violence against women is not only a women’s issue, but a responsibility that must be recognised by all stakeholders.”