Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR)


Women’s realities have brought out the interconnectedness and indivisibility of all women’s rights. For example, in order for women to enjoy their right to adequate housing and land, they also need to be free from violence, and have equal access to healthcare, education, natural resources, livelihood options, and decent work. There is a critical need to develop international human rights organizations in the Global South that help network, exchange expertise, strengthen and develop human resources, and create tools to raise awareness around women’s ESCR. To meet some of these needs, PWESCR has been developed. The programme will strengthen links between local and global initiatives— focusing on international advocacy with an emphasis on South Asian regional implementation and monitoring. It will draw from the work done by organizations like Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) in linking right to adequate housing to violence against women. It will seek new partnerships with various networks and continue to strengthen existing relationships with networks such as ESCR-Net, CLADEM (The Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defence of Women Rights) and WUNRN (Women’s UN Report Network), Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and International Women’s Research and Action Watch–-Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP).

PWESCR will work to promote women’s human rights, especially in the context of economic, social and cultural rights by bringing a gender framework to policy, law and practice at local, national, regional and international levels through ever-evolving strategies and activities in both conceptual and practical realms. PWESCR, in its initial phase will have a South Asia regional focus. However, as we get support from other regions, we plan to expand this initiative globally. PWESCR will be housed at HLRN South Asia Regional office in New Delhi, India and will be coordinated by Priti Darooka.

In the coming year PWESCR aims to work on the following activities:


· Undertake a critical review of the field of action around ESCR in South Asia with a particular focus on gendered understandings of these rights. · Publish a report to help map the field by highlighting the main actors, their focus and immediate needs. · Assess needs, trends, priorities and new agendas that would help focus more effectively on strengthening women’s ESCR.


· Develop strategic partnerships with individuals and organizations around ESCR and/or women’s rights at all levels — local, regional and international. · Provide technical and material assistance to conduct effective local, national, regional and international advocacy around women and ESCR. · Provide human rights education and training with a focus on monitoring and self-representation skills through leadership development. · Facilitate collaboration between various networks and organizations at all levels. · Develop a website on women and ESCR as a resource to exchange information and disseminate best practices and problem-solving strategies.


Facilitate conversations such as meetings, seminars, dialogues to further develop conceptual framework and to document good practices in the areas of women and cultural rights.


· Strengthen standards within the human rights framework for full implementation of women’s human rights. · Develop, compile and promote effective use of gender sensitive indicators for specific ESCR. · Strengthen women’s rights advocacy at international human rights events, in particular at the United Nations.


Conduct action-oriented research to provide deeper analysis of women’s ESC issues and to facilitate new rights-defence strategies.

Be a part of PWESCR

We take this opportunity to invite you and your organization to join us in this endeavour — to develop shared vision and to strengthen partnerships to advance women’s human rights. Your input based on your experiences working in this area would be critical as we start conceptualising on women and ESCR priorities. · Do you work on women’s economic, social and cultural rights? What are the areas of your focus? · What has your experiences been both in terms of successes and challenges promoting women’s ESCR? · What priorities would you suggest PWESCR to consider? · What advice can you give us as we develop this new programme? · Would you like to receive information about PWESCR’s future activities? · Would you like to join our list serve? If you would like to receive more information about PWESCR, please contact Priti Darooka at or write to us at PWESCR, c/o of HLRN, B-28 Nizamuddin East, New Delhi 110 013, India . We look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Miloon Kothari Coordinator Housing and Land Rights Network South Asia Regional Programme B-28 Nizamuddin East, New Delhi 110 013 India Phone/Fax: +91-11-2435-8492

Priti Darooka
Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
B-28 Nizamuddin East, New Delhi 110 013 India Phone: +91-11- 24356775; Fax: +91 – 11 – 2435-8492