Talk about untouchable women

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The president of Methodist Women in Britain is to speak in the Isle of Man about her work with a group of women who face systematic discrimination in south Asia.

Linda Crossley will speak at the Promenade Methodist Church on Loch Promenade, Douglas, on Thursday, September 11, at 7.30pm, about dalits.

About 300 million people around the world are dalits, also known as ‘untouchables’ or without caste.

They experience violence, discrimination, and social exclusion on a daily basis.

Dalit women describe themselves as subject to three-fold discrimination, because they are poor, dalit and female.

They are one of the largest socially segregated groups anywhere in the world, and make up 2 per cent of the world’s total population.

Dalit women constitute half of the 200 million dalit population, and 16.3 of the total Indian female population. The traditional taboos are the same for dalit men and dalit women.

However, dalit women have to deal with them more often.

Dalit women are discriminated against not only by people of higher castes, but also within their own communities.

The discrimination that dalit women are subjected to is similar to racial discrimination, where the former is discriminated and treated as untouchable due to descent, for being born into a particular community, while, the latter face discrimination due to colour.

The caste system declares dalit women as ‘impure’ and therefore untouchable and hence socially excluded.

This is a complete negation and violation of women’s human rights. Men are dominant in dalit communities. Dalit women also have less power within the dalit movement itself.

The Methodist Women in Britain (MWiB) have pledged to combat this global injustice.

MWiB says it hopes to produce worship and study materials to be used in groups and churches, to offer sustained prayer, and to offer funds where they can best be used for the support of dalit people.

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