Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

William Ascher

Rights Information

© 2013 Pyper Scharer


The objective of this thesis is to identify ways that international actors can be most effective in influencing policy change pertaining to women’s safety and security in India. Since the 1970s, domestic groups within India and international organizations have focused on promoting gender equality and combatting problematic social norms that beget discrimination and violence against women. This thesis examines some of the programs and campaigns that Indian governments and civil society actors – domestic and international – have implemented to promote the rights and protections of women. This thesis considers examples of finance, social networking, training, education, and information propagation, which are key ways that international actors can participate in efforts to combat prevailing attitudes that undermine the human dignity of girls and women in India. Because violence against women is systemic in nature, and because it is a social malaise that transcends culture, development professionals should frame issues of gender violence in terms of basic human rights. Fundamentally, international organizations are most effective in enhancing the status of women in India by providing grassroots organizations with critical resources to which they would not otherwise have access.