"An Indian civil society organization striving for gender justice through women's empowerment and policy advocacy interventions"

About Us

Stree Aadhar Kendra (SAK) or Women's Development Center is a registered development organization operational in the state of Maharashtra in India from 1984 implementing numerous development and empowerment programs amongst women from distressed families and also advocating their rights at state and national level for progressive laws and programs. SAK came into existence as a need for addressing issues of violence and gender discrimination faced by women in urban and rural patriarchal society in early 80s where women were facing marginalization/victimasation due to domestic violence, alcohol related physical and mental abuse at home and society, dowry, child marriages, polygamy, high percentage of illiteracy, lack of skills and assurance of employment, poor implementation of government policies and welfare/development programs. After working with victims of violence and women in distress for years a need of setting up of a development organization was felt by women activists and social workers involved to plan and undertake development programs for women in general alongside relief and rehabilitation of victims. SAK was formally registered in 1984 and is located at Pune (near Mumbai) with all its trustees hailing from different walks of life from grassroots activists to professional social workers and from business executives to volunteers working at grassroots with poor and marginalized communities in urban and rural Maharashtra who are committed to address gender issues in the society. SAK always likes to be close to grassroots women addressing their issues and empowering them and hence the organizational constitution provides a clause mentioning a woman activists or member of SAK who has worked at grassroots for five continuous years can only become a trustee of the organization. It is a women's organization formed for development and empowerment of women from poor, marginalized and all those facing distressed conditions.


A society where women and men enjoy equal rights in all walks of life and respect each other to enjoy dignity, confidence and gender just life.


To facilitate empowerment of women especially from poor and marginalized communities living in distress conditions through a process of counseling, awareness, mobilization, networking, research and advocacy in a time bound manner to help women address their issues of discrimination and exploitation and ensure gender justice in all walks of life. And it is to be ensured that this gender justice is achieved in most democratic and non-violence ways and by building linkages with national and international similar minded civil society and UN system to make an impact and local and wider level.


SAK since its inception has worked on following objectives:

  • 1) Strive for gender just society through a process of women's awareness and mobilization.
  • 2) Form women's groups and capacitate them to handle issues of violence, gender discrimination and marginalization at domestic and community level
  • 3) Create an appropriate safe and secure environment for women to education, training and skill development
  • 4) Undertake economic empowerment of women through entrepreneurship development and livelihood asset building activities
  • 5) Engender disaster management and ensure all relief, rehabilitation and post disaster development are gender just and women are involved in all decision making processes.
  • 6) Link Micro-Macro issues and advocate for gender just policies
  • 7) Promote networks of civil society organizations and also participate and strengthen other civil society networks working on rights of poor, women's development and gender justice
  • 8) Undertake research/studies and publish material which will highlight women's cause and enhance public knowledge /Information about women's issues to pave a way for women's development, empowerment and increased respect at household and society level.
  • 9) Regular constructive dialogue with similar minded civil society organizations, law enforcement agencies, lawyers, counselors, media and government agencies and sensitize them about women's issues and need of viewing their issues from human rights framework.
  • 10) Work closely with national, international and bilateral development, research and policy advocacy organizations to promote gender justice at global level.

The founder and present chairperson of the organization Dr. Neelam Gorhe is a seating Member of Legislative Council of Maharashtra State and has been a member of numerous committees of State Government from early 1990s including the State women's Commission which was set by State in 1994 to draft State Women's' Policy. She takes up women's issues, appropriate enforcement of laws and policies concerning women and demand progressive acts for a gender just society.

SAK in partnership with UNIFEM SARO (South Asia Regional Office at Delhi) has worked on gender justice issues, especially VAW, trafficking of women and girls, Gender Responsive Budgeting and Engendering Disaster Management. It has been active at 'Commission on Status of Women' (CSW) raising gender issues from India and South Asia at UN forums. SAK has also been actively involved in organizing women in 10 districts of Maharashtra directly and advocating their rights at state and national level. Its efforts are known for linking micro-macro issues and advocating for gender just policies for women's socio-economic and political rights in India in general and Maharashtra state in particular. It enjoys ECOSOC status with United Nations and has been associated with PFA and CEADWA processes in India from 1994 viz. World Forum on Women held at Beijing working closely with UN system and similar minded organizations in India and South Asia. It works on bridging the gap between issues of women at grassroots and at policy making institutions demanding mainstreaming of gender in the policy environment. Currently SAK is concentrating its efforts on addressing and advocating for implementation and formulation of policies and programs concerning issues of violence against women; participation in political/decision making processes, gender responsive budgeting, economic empowerment especially enhancing their participation in agriculture sector and gender issues in disaster management.

With a view to reach the information of UN processes in India and South Asia SAK translated the Platform For Action (PFA) Document which was an outcome of 1995 Beijing Conference, into local Marathi and Hindi languages and made them available to grassroots women's associations and organizations. This helped rural and urban poor women not only understanding the international processes but also demand and participate in policy formulation processes in state and India. SAK was part of follow up processes in India with UNIFEM, NAWO and women's political watch organizing number of state and national advocacy conferences and consultations and demanding women's empowerment and gender just policies and development programs.

SAK was part of Beijing + 5, Beijing + 10 and Beijing + 15 processes in India and represented Indian NGOs at UNIFEM'S regional and CSW conventions contributing experiences from grassroots India and South Asia. It was part of UNIFEM South Asia Regional Office and NGOs which formed two regional GO – NGO networks namely:

  • SAPAT (South Asia Professionals Against Trafficking) in 2006 during its regional meeting at Male (Maldives). This was in response to the growing poverty in the region and its impact on women and girls leading to their trafficking. The issue was serious violating human rights of women as they are pushed into forced prostitution against their wish. South Asia is base to the second largest number of trafficked persons internationally, estimated to be around 150,000 persons every year. To address this SAPAT was formed to address this issue at origin, transit and at destination.

  • SAGERI (South Asia Gender Emergency Risk Reduction Innovative Action) formed during GO – NGO consultation at Colombo in May 2007 to tackle the gender issues in Disaster Management. This was in response to the 'Islamabad Declaration' November 2006, UNIFEM SARO which was aimed at engendering disaster management and taking the declaration forward.

  • Participation in UNIFEM 51st Session: As a part of UNIFEM SARO delegation Dr. Neelam Gorhe of SAK participated in 51st session of Commission on Status of Women at New York US during 26 February to 9 March 2007. The theme of this session was to follow up on Beijing Conference. Besides participating in various sessions Dr. Gorhe facilitated critical advocacy on regional issues within the larger global context of Gender, Beijing +10 and CEDAW links to the emerging frameworks such as MDG's and WTO. The outcome of session was shared with partners of UNIFEM SARO and grassroots women in Maharashtra associated with SAK.

Our Publications

Priced Books SAK worked closely with UN System organizations, Oxfam and other donors to publish a number of educational and informative books on laws related women,
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SAK works in partnership with Indian and International donor organizations amongst women for their holistic development and empowerment. Stree Aadhar Kenda has partnered with national,
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SAK is presently involved in following programs and need programmatic support to reach out to women victims of violence effectively and efficiently and advocate their issues.
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