Claiming Entitlements: The Story of Women Leaders’ Struggle for the Right to Health in Uttar Pradesh, India - Abhijit Das and Jashodhara Dasgupta
This is the story of the leaders of a women's organisation, Mahila Swasthya Adhikar Manch (Women's Health Rights Forum) in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. It recounts how a group of women from the extremely marginalised sections of society have become empowered and are monitoring their entitlements around health services and other services which are related to the social determinants of health. It describes the evolution of the group, its activities and some of the results of their advocacy action with a focus on their empowerment process. The women leaders of this group have been supporting the members of the community to claim their health rights through a process of periodic enquiries and engagement with health providers and managers at different levels. As women leaders have become more empowered, they have also entered into the local electoral process. This story of women‟s empowerment is closely inter-twined with that of a group of facilitating organisations, who have not only contributed to this process, but also gained in confidence and credibility to strengthen the overall call for greater state accountability at different levels. The case study also discusses how this process which has led to a series of gains for these marginalised women both at a personal level and in improving accountability processes at the local level; still remains incomplete in the context of their overall political empowerment and autonomy.