Our founder & managing trustee, Anindita Majumder, worked against Gender Based Violence (GBV) for more than two decades. Her understanding is that all the work around the gender space, wouldn’t actually amount to anything for the long term unless the core issue itself were to be addressed. To her the core issue is how decision making for society takes place through governance. Engrossed in the newly emerging conversation around the country at that time; of gender-based reservation quotas in National Parliament, slowly the idea of working towards creating a gender equitable society through gender-equitable governance started taking shape. This idea also got a push by her experiences of women’s proxy leadership on the ground.
Her nomination under the prestigious International Leadership Programme (IVLP) 2014 and subsequent meetings with NGOs and prominent people in the US, gave rise to the idea of working on women in governance. Full Participation Fund was launched by Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State and a 1year project to enhance women’s participation in rural governance in West Bengal through the US Kolkata Consulate in 2015 began. In as much as an organization having FCRA permission was required to receive funds, Loka Kalyan Parishad was roped in as the implementing organization (as she had just completed a project that had LKP as a partner) with her in the lead. However after the project period ended in 2016 and with the US Administration discontinuing with the FP Fund, the local NGO was unable to support the initiatives and continue the work.
With the women in the community, the Village Councils urging her to continue the work and offering to give as much support as possible, coupled with the determination shown by some members of the previous team to keep going, she felt extremely motivated to start an organization though without any reserve funds. Thus, EQUIDIVERSITY FOUNDATION was born on 15 September, 2016 as a Charitable Trust to carry forward the work around governance and gender equality space. We could only work in a few of the areas 6 GPs. Slowly, we decided to move to new areas as we were invited by the community. Slowly the thematic areas of our work also expanded. In 2017, she received the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship for this concept and its implementation.