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After 400 Years Women Finally Granted Access to Temple Sanctum

    Dignity

    Maharashtra

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Summary

In 2016, Rohini Pawar shattered a 400-year-old tradition in Veer, Maharashtra, leading women into the temple's sanctum for the first time. Religious beliefs around menstruation making women's bodies impure persist across India. Through community dialogues, a compelling documentary, and strategic activism, Pawar galvanized support and overcame religious and gender-based discrimination. Her efforts, amplified by media, prompted the temple's trust to grant access, benefitting 3000 locals and symbolizing a wider shift towards gender equality in religious practices.

Report illustration

Rohini Pawar, leveraging her role as a community correspondent, spearheaded a campaign against the 400-year-old tradition that barred women from entering the inner sanctum of a temple in Veer village, Maharashtra. Through strategic use of media and community mobilization, Pawar's efforts culminated in a significant victory for women's rights, as she and other women entered the temple's inner sanctum for the first time on April 14, 2016, setting a precedent for gender equality in religious access.

Assumptions:

  • Access to the temple, broader awareness about gender discrimination and case study for challenging discriminatory practices valued at $2 a year per affected woman

Benefit

  • Total Estimated Benefits: Considering the empowerment and immediate access to religious practice, valued conservatively at $2 a year per woman, in terms of social and psychological benefits

Counterfactual

Without Pawar's intervention, the discriminatory practice would have persisted for another 2 years, affecting the community's progress towards gender equality and causing ongoing psychological and social harm to women in the village

Total benefit is 3000  * $2 * 2 (years) = $12,000 

Cost of Story is $850, obtained by dividing the annual budget for video volunteers in 2016 ($320,788) with the total number of impact reports they produced in that year (377). 

Benefit Cost Ratio is $12,000 divided by $850 = 14.11

Conclusion:

Rohini Pawar's campaign represents a significant stride towards dismantling gender-based discrimination in religious practices, achieving a notable benefit/cost ratio of 14.11 indicating that over $14 in social value was generated for every dollar spent. Pawar's strategic and impactful use of media, coupled with grassroots activism, has not only addressed an immediate issue of religious access but also laid the groundwork for future advocacy against gender discrimination, illustrating the profound impact of determined community-led efforts on societal norms and practices.

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