International Unitarian Universalism

Celebrating International Women's Day in India

Women in India holding signs in an Indian language, one in English says "Happy Women's Day March 8"

International Women's Day celebration in Madhya Pradesh, India

Earlier this week our community partners across India celebrated International Women's Day.

They gathered in village squares and in city centers, in small circles under trees and in huge crowds under tents. They danced and sang. They celebrated successes and reflected on losses – recharging themselves for the struggles that lay ahead.

Here are a few glimpses of their celebrations:

Women in different colored saris raise fists at rally


Woman in orange sari gives garland of white flowers to woman in white sari


Women in saris in three rows smile for the camera

New Delhi

Women in face masks carry a green banner at the head of a march

West Bengal

Women in different colored saris sit in the audience at a gathering


One of those organizations celebrating was DISHA, a Holdeen India Program partner since 1985.

DISHA supports rural women in the western state of Gujarat to secure sustainable livelihoods.

To achieve this, the organization's leaders do not offer community members a fixed set of solutions. Instead, they listen, consult, and act collectively.

When women farmers said they had no access to agricultural credit, DISHA set up a revolving fund to provide loans.

Savitaben Solanki, a widow with one son, received a loan to buy vegetable seeds last year for her small plot of land. The resulting crop earned her about $400, a sizable sum in rural India. 101 single women like her received loans to plant new crops or buy livestock last year, offering vital new sources of income.

When the Covid-19 pandemic surged in Gujarat, DISHA's team carefully surveyed their members to assess needs and then rushed in aid. Single-women-led households were the priority for assistance. 575 women received support to access vaccines.

DISHA’s story is just one example of how Holdeen India Program partners are working every day for women's empowerment in India.

We invite you to support their critical work.

Learn more about the UU Holdeen India Program.