DSA2020: New Leadership for Global Challenges
University of Birmingham, 17-19 June 2020
Srilatha Batliwala is currently Senior Advisor, Knowledge Building with CREA (Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action), an international organization that works at the intersection of gender, sexuality and human rights, and Senior Associate, Gender at Work, a global network of gender experts supporting organizations to build cultures of equality and inclusion. Her work focuses on building knowledge from practice, especially in the areas of gender, feminist movement building and feminist leadership, and on capacity building of young activists and organisations to advance feminist visions of social justice.
Through the past four decades, Srilatha’s work has spanned grassroots activism, building movements of marginalized grassroots women, research and scholarly work, policy advocacy, grant-making, and capacity building of young women activists around the world. Up to the mid-90s, she was involved for over twenty years in grassroots work in India, where she helped build large-scale women’s movements that mobilized and empowered tens of thousands of the most socio-economically marginalized rural and urban women in slum communities in Mumbai (Bombay) and in the backward districts of Karnataka state in South India. Thereafter, she worked internationally including as Civil Society Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, New York (1997-2000), Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations (2000 – 2007), and from 2008 – 2016 as Scholar Associate in AWID (Association for Women's Rights in Development).
Srilatha has written and published extensively on a range of women’s issues, and is best known for her work on women’s empowerment, women’s movements and feminist approaches to monitoring and evaluation. Her most recent publications are (i) a collection of her writings of the past twenty years: “Engaging with Empowerment – An Intellectual and Experiential Journey” (Women Unlimited, 2014, and eBook version 2015), and (ii) a primer for activists, “All About Power”.
Srilatha commutes between homes in Bangalore and the Nilgiri Hills of South India, and is an active feminist grandmother to her four grandchildren!
Alpa Shah’s most recent book, ‘Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas’, was a finalist for the 2019 Orwell Prize and the New India Foundation Book Prize, on the longlist for the Tata Literature Live Nonfiction Book Award and featured on several 2018 Book of the Year lists from the New Statesman to the Hindu. Alpa is also the author of ‘In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics, Environmentalism and Insurgency in Jharkhand, India’ (2010) and co-author of ‘Ground Down by Growth: Tribe, Caste, Class and Inequality in 21st Century India’ (2018). In 2010, Alpa made a 30-minute radio documentary for BBC Radio 4 Crossing Continents on ‘India’s Red Belt’, has since featured on several other BBC Radio 4 programmes, and recently co-curated a major photo exhibition ‘Behind the Indian Boom’. Alpa was raised in Nairobi, read Geography at Cambridge and then trained in Anthropology at the LSE where she now teaches.
She has written and edited several books including No Shortcuts to Power: Women and Policymaking in Africa, and Go Home or Die Here: Violence, Xenophobia and the Politics of Difference in South Africa. Women’s Organisations and Democracy: Contesting Authority won the Victoria Shuck Award for Best Book in Women and Politics from the American Political Science Association. Her most recent book was an archival recuperation of the work of the South African sociologist, Fatima Meer. She is a Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and served as an elected member of its National Council.