Established in 2006, Dalit Stree Shakthi (DSS) seeks to build the capacity of Dalit women leaders to combat oppression and discrimination of caste, class and gender and enhance the rights and entitlements of Dalit women. DSS provides collective leadership and organisation to Dalit women in the state of Andhra Pradesh, advocating and raising awareness for Dalit women’s rights and providing access to justice for Dalit women and girls. The oldest and largest network of Dalit women in India, DSS are structured on the basis of Dalit women’s collectives.
DSS empowers Dalit women by providing legal training, rights awareness and entitlement advice. DSS monitors State responses to violence against Dalit women and girls across 80 categories of rights violations and provide legal advice and support on hundreds of cases each year. It takes up legal actions, mobilises communities to protest injustice and conducts campaigns to sensitise the wider public about issues of justice, equality and equity for Dalit women. DSS has convened several public hearings and round table conferences on the issue of violence against Dalit women and girls and has published a compendium of important legislation relating to Dalit women and children in Telugu.
Sisters For Change worked with DSS as part of our project with the National Dalit Movement for Justice, Delhi from 2016-2018. In March 2018, Sisters For Change, NDMJ and Dalit Stree Shakthi launched a joint report to evidence the findings of our work and the chronic failure of the Indian State to combat violence against Dalit women and girls.