AMY GOODMAN: We continue our conversation on this International Women’s Day with world-renowned feminist, activist, thinker from India, Dr. Vandana Shiva. India witnessed nationwide protests earlier this year following the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in December. The rape brought attention to other instances of sexual violence in India, where one woman is raped every 20 minutes, according to the national crime registry there. The conviction rates in the rape cases in India have decreased from 46 percent in 1971 to 26 percent in 2012.
To talk more about the significance of International Women’s Day, we go to Los Angeles to speak with Vandana Shiva, where she’s on tour right now. She’s the author of many books, including Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace, Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Her most recent book is Making Peace with the Earth.
Vandana, welcome to Democracy Now! As you travel in the United States from India right now—you’re an environmental leader, you’re a feminist, you’re a scientist—what is your message on this International Women’s Day?
VANDANA SHIVA: I’m here in Los Angeles to address a conference on International Women’s Day on global ecologies, on how globalization, shaped by a very patriarchal mindset, a capitalist, patriarchal mindset, has actually aggravated the violence against women, that we are living in a very violent economic order to which war has become essential—war against the earth, war against women’s bodies, war against local economies and war against democracy. And I think we need to see the connections between all these forms of violence, which impact women most. Whether it’s climate change or biodiversity erosion or seed monopolies, all of it is connected. It’s one piece.
AMY GOODMAN: Vandana Shiva, talk about the activism in India right now against violence against women and how that fits into your overall issue, especially as you deal with issues like the environment.
VANDANA SHIVA: You know, my recognition that there was a very deep connection between the women’s movement in India and the protection of the environment started in the early ’70s with the very inspiring movement called Chipko, where I became a volunteer as a young student. “Chipko” means to hug. And women of my region came out and said, “You can’t cut these forests. These forests protect our soil, our water. They’re not timber mines.” Ten years of protest it took to eventually have the government recognize that the first function of the forests of the Himalaya is to provide stable water supply to avoid floods and drought, not the value of the square foot of timber after a tree is cut.
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