Setting up of India Greens Women’s Network (IGPWN)

Following the IGP  annual conference, a two-day Gender Equity training for key women members of the IGP was held. This Gender Equity training, the first of their kind globally and a pilot for Greens parties  in Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East. It is a major part of the work of the APGFWN over the past three years.

The Gender Equity training commenced with a joint half-day session with men from the party to increase common understanding of the issues women face in India which is ranked 95 of the 129 countries on the United Nations Gender Index. A further training on GE sensitisation for men within the party was identified as a one-day training program for the future. It remains to be seen if this will be implemented and may take an initiative from APGF to do so. 

The IGP has a set of comprehensive sets of policies for supporting women within their party including a set quota of 50% women on their national executive through to village level and a rotation of male, female and other top office bearers like the President. Presently, the party has a male President, however in 2021 the President will be other than a male. Some of these targets are being achieved like four vice presidents out of nine today, and six women in the political affairs committee out of 17 present members. The IGP has ensured that there is women’s representation  in the state committees as well. The representation is not optimal as yet but the efforts are on.

The political system of the country does not encourage women into politics. In 2018, 11.8% of parliamentarians were women in India. Neighbouring countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh have seen marked improvements in women’s representation but India has continually lagged behind.

Objectives of the IGPWN training were as follows:

1.To bring together key women in IGP for the first time; to meet and form as a team; get to know one another.

2. To identify as a group key goals for the IGP Women’s Network to address  

3. To identify mechanisms and processes for the women’s group to succeed in the next 2-3 years so as women’s groups are in every state, town, village where IGP has branches.

4. To design a road map for the IGP women’s group for the next 2-3 years including 50% of party membership to be female to stand apart from the conventional parties

To bring together men and women from the IGP to educate them on key issues relating to gender equity

5. To encourage all in the party to adopt Gender Equity measures and to agree to its implementation

The objectives were met from the training with 18 participants in total and around 20 male participants on the first day. Key for the IGP and the training was the outcomes of forming a women’s group within the party with their own executive including a women’s convenor, deputy convenor, and treasurer; and a  road map highlighting key steps such as active recruitment of women in the party.  

Feedback was resoundingly positive on the training initiative both at local and regional level. It will have a long-standing impact within the IGP and its positioning as a party where women can participate at an equal level. As part of this training program, Michelle Sheather trained two further trainers Anita Nautiyal from IGP and Rachana Shrestha from the Nepali Green party to be GE trainers within their own parties and others in the region. Mahima Bhardwaj is now also a GE trainer for the India Greens. The next Gender Equity training is scheduled for Bangladesh in 2020 as well as two further trainings in the next 18 months..

The IGP plans to hold a training program in the state of Chhattisgarh to train the IGP women members there including in preparation to run for the State Assembly.  The IGP women’s network has received further requests for women’s training programs from other states including Karnataka, Telangana, and Jharkhand. 

Gender Equity training for India Greens party. Mahima Bhardwaj, the first national convenor of IGPWN  is first on the left.

On an APGF level this is a prototype that can be built on further. It does require significant human resources in terms of time for preparation which involves consultation within the party and working through these issues which are very new to the APGF member parties.  Monitoring the progress of the roadmap going forward is vital to give the national women’s networks back up beyond their own party to succeed.

This has been a good landmark for the women’s network.  As the Gender Equity trainings increase within the region it is likely to require financial support to succeed. 

The roadmap below addresses the key steps over the next two years for the party.  Recruitment of women into the party at membership and executive level warranged a strategy unto its own. A communications strategy was developed to make the women more heard and seen within the party.


The following steps were agreed unanimously at the meeting on Gender Equity (GE) on November 4, 2019, regarding the IGPWN roadmap from November 2019-21.

  1. The Inaugural women’s meeting /training on Nov 4, 2019, endorsed the formation of IGPWN. The India Greens PAC (Executive) will be informed at their November 2019 Meeting of the network’s formation and four office bearers were elected in the roles of Convenor, Deputy Convenor, Secretary and Treasurer/Fundraising.
  2. It is proposed the IGPWN convener will be a member of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC/ Executive) effective November 2019.
  3. Local Chapters of IGPWN will be set up in key states: (group together women) (6 months)
  4. A recruitment and membership drive for women within IGP is a priority.  A strategy, including an incubation program, will be drawn up within 6 months. This will include localisation of promotions and advertising vacancies on FB and website and seeking to field candidates for the in house elections campaigns in 2021 -22. Learnings can be drawn from the ‘She Will Run’ initiative for the Green Party Korea.
  5. A legal analysis of existing women’s laws and available services in India will be drawn up by 4 volunteers. (1 month)
  6. An agenda for a  1 day GE sensitivity training for male members of the IGP is to be drawn up and suggest a one-day pilot training (June 2020)
  7. A communications’ strategy regarding women and recruiting women into IGP is to be enacted (an 11 point plan has been drawn up to make women visible and integrated within the party)(2020)
  8. In 2021 IGPWN finalise a recommended list of women candidates for upcoming elections & forward to PAC. It is recognised there is a 33% quota for women in the India National Parliament and a newly proposed 50% quota for women in local government.
  9. Selection criteria & a clear process for candidate selection is to be established in 2020.
  10. Sexual harassment policies & procedures for complaints inside IGP to be adopted and implemented (6 months including state parties). Vishaka Guidelines for harassment in the workplace can be referred.
  11. Career/development paths (individual’s  2-3 years plans) are drawn up in 6 months for participants of the November 3-4 GE training.
  12. Monthly zoom Meetings will be held with the IGPWN for discussion and training and agenda; a buddy system (pair IGPWN participants together) is to be set up; and identify future training needs e.g. online.
  13. Translation of the APGF GE toolkit & other materials to be undertaken into key languages in India. (6 months)
  14. Complete an analysis of existing IGP policies relating to women’s issues and identifying gaps or new areas to be developed. (to be conducted by Aarushi in 2020 in 6 months)
  15. Review the above road map in 6 months)by June 2020 by IGPWN and in conjunction with the IDC-APGFWN project; and then again in one year from now.
  16.  Communication Strategy for Women inside IGP


It is recognised to recruit and maintain women members in IGP a communications strategy plays an important role in making women visible and heard within IGP.

  1. Pamphlet on IGPWN policies and issues relating to the network to be produced and translated into Hindi and Local Languages, (Can be used for recruitment.)
  2. Train women speakers to speak with for example undergraduate women’s organisations and within the media.
  3. Produce video footage and photos for WhatsApp, IGP website and FB showing women inside IGP and the activities they are undertaking.
  4. Make clear, good slogans on women’s Issues for use within the IGP
  5. Hashtag Women’s issue on problems women are facing in India and how IGP can address them.
  6. Documentary on Women’s Issue/ IGP Your Tubes
  7. Key Spokespersons such as IGPWN office bearers
  8. Hindi Translation (as first step) of APGF Gender Equity online Toolkit.
  9. Positive Images of Women to be included in all forms of communications- review existing online content
  10. Opeds/opinion pieces, online interviews, and blogs (digital campaigning) to be put forward by the IGPWN and those working on communications in IGP

Participation in debates on ecological issues and women’s issues on behalf of IGP.