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She also started a Change.org petition to urge India to ban the practice throughout the country, which is now being heard at the Supreme Court. She has now represented hundreds of survivors before the United Nations. She is also one of 8 million in India where Preethi estimates there are more than 2,500 petitions started every month.
The research studied more than 3.9 million of Change.org’s more than 200 million users in 196 countries; over 55,000 of which are in India. The study found that while women are less likely to run for office -- or participate in what they call “thick” forms of political participation -- they are very successful mobilizing both men and women to sign petitions when they do start them (they start petitions less often than men, but when they do start petitions, they win more often). The report found that even though women create fewer petitions than men on the platform, their campaigns are 1.36 times as likely to win.
History has been made by heroic women who used the tools they had available to them to make great sacrifices in order to change the world.
History has been made, she continued, by heroic women who used the tools they had available to them to make great sacrifices in order to change the world. Preethi turned to her presentation, starting to talk about Nangeli, a Cherthala woman, who 200 years ago rebelled against a societal practice of making lower-caste people walk around without covering their upper body by refusing to pay what was known as a “breast tax” when she decided to cover herself. Preethi warned us that the next slide would be graphic.Then, the power went out.She paused, and looked at the sound support crew before improvising, quickly, and continuing. When taxpayers came to collect, “she cut her breasts off and bled to death,” Preethi said. “That was her protest.”In the darkened space, Preethi continued speaking as a few young men worked furiously to connect wires and generator to computer. Preethi moved on to a photograph from the Chipko movement, an environmental movement that began in 1973 in the state of Rajasthan when a Himalayan woman wrapped her arms around a tree in order to save it from being felled by lumberjacks. In the end, 84 villagers followed her lead.
"We have a unique opportunity to change the way our history is paved. It does not have to be one of sacrifice, but one of power. More than making connections, changing the way our history is written.”
Day after day, for upwards of twelve hours during the week, the Changemakers had this message reinforced with sessions led by Change.org staff from around the world, but mainly from staff based in India helping to define and set goals for campaigns based on examples of victorious and successful campaigns from the past. Those included Subarna Ghosh’s Safe Birth campaign with more than 300,000 supporters calling on states throughout the country to make it mandatory to report the number of cesarean births performed by hospitals.Subarna and campaigner Nida Hasan determined that doctors were forcing women to have cesarean surgeries at a higher cost to the women and Insia Dariwala, who has led a campaign to end the sex abuse of male children and their isolation. Activists and artists who work in social impact performed and spoke in depth to the women to encourage them to continue existing campaigns or begin new ones. Workshop sessions delved into strategy, tactics and content that could shape a successful Changemaker’s journey.
“The community you build helps you. Building a community is the most critical thing. I am standing here only and solely because of the community I have built.”