Women's Solidarity Festival
Every year, our campus hosts a Bioregional Women’s Solidarity Festival where over 5500 women from the Bioregion of Auroville congregate to share a day together, irrespective of their caste or class, united in the celebration of the Female Spirit.
The Festival signifies women’s unity and solidarity, and overcomes every cultural, caste, class, race, colour and even gender divide, since men too are welcome to celebrate the Spirit of Woman. There is no religion-based tradition that drives the festivities.
Women enact different cultural performances, where the skits are made engaging with the inclusion of songs with themes of social change, shedding light on issues of gender bias, treatment of the elderly, eve-teasing and deforestation, among others.
When we attend the Women’s day festival, we become really free and expressive and though we are apprehensive to share this with our family but they take it in a positive light. When our family appreciates, that is the recognition we get. Even though I fell on stage while dancing, I did not quit since I want to set a good example for my daughters. I feel familiar with all the women, the performance is a collective effort. This is the recognition we strive for.
Organising and Planning
Although the Festival is organised by the Udhayam Federation Members, AVAG funds it partially (50% of the overall expenses are covered by AVAG, and 50% by the Federation), arranges pre-event activities and organises professionals to train the women in dance, theatre and debating, as well as in ancient traditional folk dance forms of Tamil Nadu which are on the brink of being lost. The organization also assists with the preparation of the infrastructure and food for all the attendants.
These activities give women an opportunity to express freely in an otherwise conservative society.
In addition to the performances, special guests are invited (generally local activists) to talk and raise awareness about different social topics such as child protection, women’s rights, trans-gender people inclusion, etc.