Group for Women's Education and Research

Vishakha has its roots in the women’s movement of Rajasthan.

The Women's Movement in Rajasthan has been a vibrant and vocal struggle particularly against violence.

The protests against Sati in 1989 in a way brought out into the open the deep seated patriarchal beliefs of a range of powerful people in the state, be it politicians, senior bureaucrats, well placed academics, the large business community and the rural feudal rich. The vastness of the context was suddenly clear, calling openly for sharpness in writing of the text of protest.

The campaign for justice for the Sathin of Bhateri village when she was gangraped in 1990 was another point  to expose the caste-politics nexus and subsequently for exposing the patriarchal nature of the judiciary after the district court decision acquitting the rapists came up.

The struggle has continued ever since.

The women's movement in Rajasthan has seen a blending of voices of the rural unlettered and the urban educated women and their concerns. Distinct from most other regions, the movement has also seen an active exchange of energies with other critical peoples' movements in the state.

From demanding for constituting a state women’s commission, to a critical review of the state women’s policy and generating public debate on police practices in registration of domestic violence cases, the medical community’s role in pre natal diagnostic testing or the local media’s representation of women atrocity incidents- The movement has on the one side confronted the State on multiple issues and built pressure, and on the other- stood up for constructive collaborations.

Vishakha has been an active participant in this journey.

The founding members were actively engaged in raising issues of discrimination and violence in the State since the eighties. Actively voicing the protests against the Deorala ‘sati’, the group felt the need for a platform for organized intervention; Vishakha was thus founded, and registered as a Society in 1991.

Vishakha played a key role in moving the petition which led to the landmark judgement by the Supreme Court of India, issuing guidelines for Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace, in 1997.

In the aftermath of the Bhateri rape case, Vishakha had filed a PIL in the Supreme Court of India along with 4 other women’s groups resulting in the landmark judgment with the SC issuing guidelines for prevention of sexual harassment at the Workplace. These guidelines are popularly called the Vishakha Guidelines.