Around the corner: All you need to know about the Martha Farrell Award!

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It’s that time of the year again! With preparations for the fourth edition of the Martha Farrell Award (MFA) for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality underway, we take this moment to remember what constitutes this ritual of annual recognition we confer upon changemakers who bring feminism in everyday life.

As a capacity-building organization working to redress sexual harassment and all forms of gender discrimination, Martha Farrell Foundation considers it a responsibility to identify and enable our peers who are engaged in similar work, and who share our ethos when it comes to women’s empowerment. Launched in 2016 and inaugurated in 2017, in the memory of Dr. Martha Farrell and her ideals, the Award seeks to recognise exceptional work in mainstreaming gender and to bring about development in their respective communities and organizations.

Together with our partners, Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) and Rural Development Trust (RDT), the Foundation actively seeks to empower leaders to organize in creative and impactful ways so they can generate real change in their communities and become a beacon of gender empowerment in their respective sectors and the society at large. We are committed to supporting the Most Promising Individual working in government, business, industry, or civil society organizations in India, and the Best Organization for Gender Equality whose efforts at creating gender-sensitive spaces aren’t limited to program implementation but also looks inward.

Over the years, we have shortlisted nominees and organisations whose work covers the entire spectrum of Gender and Development (GAD) from combatting human trafficking and child marriage, making online spaces safe for women and improving women’s participation in governance, to promoting gender justice and accountability, empowering Dalit women, advocating for literacy among adolescent girls, and providing mental health assistance to survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Our nominees hail from all walks of life, from all corners of the subcontinent, and they bring their diverse experience and background to the table. Organisations ranging from government, business, industry, educational, health, media, unions, federations or civil society now embellish the award’s growing alumni. We’ve had Gender and Diversity Cells that work to sharpen workplace policies in their IT firm to make a safe and equitable place for women employees. MFA has recognised lone crusaders who have developed curative and preventive measures at the community level to tackle child trafficking. Legal aid forums and rural women-led collectives that defend the rights of women by delivering justice and restorative aid to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have gone on to win the prestigious grant. Not only do we look for innovative, practical, and comprehensive approaches to mainstreaming gender in the field, MFA pushes such trailblazers to introspect on the culture of safe spaces they’ve helped cultivate within their institutions, at home, in their immediate communities and campuses.

Our jury this year comprises eminent members and experts from the arts, academic, development, corporate, and media sectors – rounding off a panel that achieves a sought-after balance and democratisation of gender-based development work – the onus of which fell only on certain sectors until recently. Journalist and writer Namita Bhandare, theatre director Feisal Alkazi, Nandita Tripathi (Partner, KPMG-India), and Deepthi Bopaiah (Executive Director, GoSports Foundation) will be overseeing the rigorous selection process for this year’s MFA, along with Dr. Pankaj Mittal, General Secretary of Association of Indian Universities, and eminent development practitioners Dr. Rajesh Tandon (Founder-President, PRIA) and Moncho Ferrer (Programs Director, RDT).

The award ceremony brings these luminaries and organisations together on a single forum, showcasing the kind of multi-sectoral and intersectional work that goes into making a real difference, in un-tipping the scales. In India, widespread gender discrimination and violence with the lack of understanding of the same, further underscores the need for such an award today. In its fourth year, the MFA has come to symbolise something more than a token of appreciation. For us at the Foundation and our winners, it marks the beginning of a shared journey in disrupting the status quo, debunking gender roles, and deepening the understanding and discourse around feminism in everyday life, the way Dr. Farrell envisioned it.

It gives us immense pleasure to announce the winners of the 4th Martha Farrell Awards on October 10, 2020, over a virtual felicitation ceremony. RSVP with mfa@marthafarrellfoundation.org. For more details and regular updates, follow the Foundation on Twitter.

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