Fall 2015 Soffa Lecture

"Structural Inequalities and Poverty: Organizing for Economic Rights in India," Renana Jhabvala

The Soffa lecture supports regular lectures on contemporary issues of global significance. Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa (‘46 BA L&S) established this fund to support an annual public lecture on a contemporary issue of global significance by a distinguished woman in international public life. For more than a decade this fund has brought renowned women from across the globe to lecture and meet with classes. Holders of the lectureship have included well-known “grassroots” leaders in the struggle for human rights and international understanding.

From spring 2015, HRP will be coordinating this distinguished lecture.  

September 30, 2015:

"Structural Inequalities and Poverty: Organizing for Economic Rights in India," Renana Jhabvala, SEWA, India, 4:00pm, Pyle Center, followed by an informal reception.

About the lecture:
Structural inequalities are one of the main reasons why widespread and deep poverty continues to exist despite continuous economic growth in India. Centuries old inequalities due to caste, class and gender, are deepened by new processes thrown up by globalization. However, the changes due to globalization have also brought people together through new ways of organizing and have led to new directions in society. The lecture is about the structural economic injustices faced by the poorest working women and the experiences of Self Employed Women’s Association, a movement of two million women who have organized themselves for economic rights and in the process are changing economic and social structures. 

About the speaker: 

Renana Jhabvala is best known for her long association with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India and for her writings on issues of women in the informal economy. 

She represents SEWA at international levels including at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) where she was part of the movement to bring in Conventions for informal workers. She is one of the founders and present Chair of WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment and Organizing) based at Harvard University. 

She has been active in many Government committees and task forces which have formulated policies ranging from National Policy for Street vendors to the Law for Social Security of Unorganised Workers. She has written extensively on women in the informal economy and on Gandhian ways of struggle and is also presently Chancellor of Gandhigram Rural University.

Lecture Recording

Press release


Interview with Amitabh Pal, The Progressive 

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