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Report of Mumbai

Astrid took over Mumbai Unit as Coordinator since September 2017. She Got together an organizing committee of 5 women, consisting of 3 Catholic women – Marcia D'Cunha, Brinelle D’Souza and Ananda Amritmahal – and 2 Protestant women - Joycia Thorat and Shoba Philips. Communicating through email, they set about organizing a meeting for Mumbai around the theme “Being an Indian Christian Woman Today”. They chose topics to focus on the theme in the context of the present Indian political scenario. The day-long program was held on 4th November, 2017.

The keynote address given by Nalini Nayak was on the main theme. A panel of Veena Gowda and Noorjahan Safia spoke on “Issues at stake in the reform of personal laws” from a Hindu and Muslim perspective respectively. Marcia D’Cunha and Joycia Thorat spoke on a second panel on “Barriers and bridges to women’s fuller participation in the Church in India”. The last speaker was Nirmala Nathan who spoke on “The Intersection of Gender, Caste and Religion: A call to prophetic engagement”.

The last session focused on future ICWM programmes. The following were suggested:

1. Gender sensitization programs 2. Inclusion of more Dalit and tribal women in ICWM and involvement in their struggles at the national level e.g. getting jobs. 3. Explore new ways of being church/ Define Church 4. Engage with national issues as citizens not victims. 5. Create more spaces to listen to the stories of women – their struggles and their triumphs (“Human books”).

There were 79 participants of whom 18 were Protestants. Publicity had been done through the Archdiocesan Women’s Commission with the full support of Jean Saldanha, the Secretary, and through the team’s personal contacts. YWCA handled the publicity for Protestant women. The Archdiocesan Catholic Communication Centre designed a poster using the ICWM logo, free of cost. This was approved by Astrid and Marcia and was used for the banner as well. Marcia used the same format to design a WhatsApp invitation which was circulated. There were 37 new members who registered.

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