2017 Winners

Most Promising Individual

Rakhi Gope
Community-based Social Activist
Alipurduar, West Bengal

Rakhi Gope is a resident of a tea estate in Falakata in Alipurduar District of West Bengal, who has been leading the fight against child trafficking within her community, for the last 11 years. She has been working in an extremely difficult context, where she has faced numerous threats to her life. She has rescued hundreds of victims of trafficking and facilitated their rehabilitation by linking them to government-sponsored livelihood and shelter programmes. Rakhi works in 134 villages, which comprise more than 75,000 households, where she has mobilized and sensitized the community, to become alert towards trafficking and prevent it within their families. She has also worked effectively with the local administration and serves on the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

At the young age of 31, Rakhi is an inspiration to many young girls and women in her community, for whom she envisions a safe and a violence free future. Like Martha, she leads by example and is undeterred in her fight against trafficking.

Best Organization for Gender Equality

Majlis Legal Center
All-women Organization Defending the Legal Rights of Women
Mumbai, Maharashtra

Majlis Legal Centre was founded in 1991 by Advocate Flavia Agnes. It is an all-women organization, based in Mumbai, which is dedicated to providing legal support and legal training to women. It believes in women’s rights lawyering by women. It has defended over 50,000 women in Maharashtra in their struggle against domestic violence and sexual violence and has trained over 4,000 women lawyers on various laws related to women’s rights. Majlis has employed only women since their inception and currently, they are a team of 35 women lawyers and social activists, who work on issues of domestic violence and sexual violence. To sustain their all-women team, Majlis provides for a very caring and a supportive workplace for all their employees. The employees, who have recently given birth or have young children, are provided work suitable to their needs (part-time/flexi time/work from home). They can also bring their children to office.

Martha always emphasized on the importance of engendering institutions. At Majlis, creating a workplace that enables women to fulfill their potential within the organization is the key to engendering institutions.

2017 Finalists

Commander Pritika Sharma
Indian Navy OfficerMumbai, Maharashtra Commander Pritika Sharma is an Indian Navy Officer, who has been working towards making Indian Navy a gender-inclusive workplace. She has spearheaded a long drawn legal battle, currently in the Supreme Court, for implementing a uniform exit policy for male and female naval officers. She is also an educator and a trainer in the Navy, where she has designed a gender syllabus for the institution and undertaken more than 1000 gender sensitization sessions for both male and female navy officers. Cdr. Pritika has also been counselling and supporting her colleagues if they face sexism at the workplace. She is leading change by making her workplace a gender sensitive workplace.

Advocate Savita Ali
Savita Ali: She is a dalit feminist activist based in Patna and works on the rights of the dalit women. She is herself a dalit, and her own experience has led her to work on the issue of rights of dalit women. Her work extends in Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Orrisa.  She has organised community level awareness programmes for Dalit women and run community based legal clinics. She want to further work on promoting a platform for paid domestic workers in Bihar.

Kirthi Jayakumar
Kirti Jaykumar: She is based out of Chennai and has been working for the past 6 years with men and women on gender equality. She has founded Red Elephant Foundation which is a youth-led civilian peacebuilding initiative that works for gender equality and peace through storytelling, art advocacy, tech-for-good and digital media engagement. She works with both men and women. She wants to further do workshops in public and private schools in India, for inclusion of gender equality and peace education in classrooms and build mobile-app based platforms to help educate parents and teachers on gender equality, bullying, racism and other forms of abuse.

Rakhi Gope
Rakhi Gope: is a community level activist in Falakata-Siliguri, she has been working in the development sector for more than 11 years. She has been tirelessly working on issues such as reducing child marriage, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking by spreading awareness among the community, creating a safe space and bridging the gap between the community and stakeholders. She is proactive in empowering young girls and boys, as well as she is a member in the local committee for the prevention of sexual harassment of women at workplace.

Jayshree Satpute
Jayshree Satpute: She is a human rights lawyer based in Delhi and she tries to empower the adivasi and urban poor through rights based education. She has been working for the last 15 years on this issue and has founded the organisation ‘Nazdeek’ which is a legal empowerment organization committed to bringing access to justice closer to marginalized communities in India She has built the capacities of women para-legals in the community and encourages other lawyers to take up pro-bono cases. She has also worked with both men and women on rights based education. In the future she wants to further work on clinical legal education in law schools and empower women to use technology to bring the information on schemes closer and accessible to women.


Care India Solutions for Sustainable Development
Comprehensive Programmes on Gender, Health, Education and LivelihoodNoida, Uttar Pradesh  CARE India has been working for the last 65 years for the empowerment of women and girls in marginalized communities, through its programmes on health, education and livelihood. Working in 14 states in India, with 2000 employees, CARE is ensuring gender equality both within and outside its workplace. CARE’s management dashboard monitors gender diversity within its staff. It has implemented various affirmative policies to ensure a gender sensitive and a gender equal workplace and is currently working towards making all its programmes gender transformative. CARE India is leading change by being a fair and a just employer to women.

Durbar Mahilla Samawaya Committee
Sex Workers’ CollectiveKolkata, West Bengal Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) is a collective of 65,000 female, male and transgender sex workers in the red light area of Songachi, Kolkata, West Bengal. It works for the rights of the sex workers and is also run and led by sex workers. DMSC prevents exploitative practices within sex work, by making aware sex workers of their rights, stopping the entry of minor and trafficked persons within the trade and by ensuring quality education and livelihood for the children of the sex workers. For DMSC, the key to ensure a lasting change is by working with the sex workers, for their rights, by mobilizing and unionizing them.

Mahilla Rajsatta Andolan
Campaign to Strengthen Women’s Participation in Local GovernanceNavi Mumbai, Maharashtra Mahila Rajsatta Andolan strengthens women’s participation in Panchayti Raj Institutions (PRIs). Evolved in March 2000 in Maharashtra, MRA is run and lead by elected women PRI members, with the motto of “Vote Hamara, Raj Hamara” (Our Vote, Our Governance). MRA has increased women’s participation in local governance by facilitating regular mahila gram sabhas, advocating for women centered policies at the panchayat level and by training and educating women PRI members about their rights and duties. MRA is leading change by engendering governance and developing community level women’s leadership.

Technological Solutions for the Empowerment of Rural WomenVallikavu, Kerala Ammachi Labs Research Center has been innovating technological solutions that are “inclusive and non-disruptive” to empower and better the lives of rural women. They undertake livelihood and life skills training of women, which trains them for “non-traditional jobs”, i.e., jobs not traditionally done by women, such as plumbers, electricians, masons, etc. Ammachi Labs not just employs people from varied social and educational backgrounds, but also different sexualities. Currently, 60% of its employees are women, who are encouraged to undertake research. It provides an enabling workplace for all its employees (especially women) and is leading change by eliminating gender-based discrimination at the workplace.

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