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Genderwatch was a 'campaign' launched by the Revolutionary Communist Party in the 1990s according to confidential internal party documents. Those associated with it included Para Teare, Jennie Bristow. RCP activist Eve Kay-Kreizman delivered a talk for Genderwatch in 1996. The talk was reproduced as a commentary on the Living Marxism website. Kay-Kreizman ('Eve Kay') was listed as a 'journalist' as opposed to leading RCP activist and no connection was apparent in the listing between Genderwatch and the RCP.
- However, behind the idea of "credit as human right for the poor" there lies a credit relationship that benefits the bank more than it does its borrowers, and this means that Grameen is more like conventional banks than meets the eye. For Grameen borrows at 12 per cent and charges Bangladeshi women 20 per cent for their loans, thus giving the bank a profit margin of eight per cent. And "these are the kind of figures that a banker in the city of London would be happy to settle for," commented social scientist Para Teare in the magazine Genderwatch.
Para Teare and three others were signatories to a letter from Genderwatch (based in 'London E17') published in the Independent in May 1996:
- Muhammad Yunus's vision of the "total eradication of poverty", especially for poor women in Bangladesh, is to be applauded ("The good banker", Review, 5 May). Unfortunately we fail to see how his "survival strategy" of giving credit to poor women helps to enhance their position in our society.
- He argues that giving women credit helps them to be self-employed at home, keeping them in villages rather than looking for work in factories. How can this help them participate in wider social and political spheres? The Grameen Bank perpetuates rather than challenges the traditional position of women in Bangladesh.
- The women in question have sold their souls. Leaving aside that credit ties them into a life-long dependent relationship to the bank, we do not know of any other bank which places conditions on women's lives by dictating what they can and cannot do, for instance insisting that they agree to have small families. This amounts to interfering with a fundamental right that women all over the world should have - the right to control our bodies.
A year later Teare had a letter in the Guardian (from the following address: BM Gender Watch, London WC1N 3XX) which attacked Christian Aid:
- THE moral outrage shown by Christian Aid and Clare Short against child labour in India obscures the real reason for the poverty: the unequal relationship between the North and South. It is naive to blame just one sports company for the poverty suffered by people in the South. It is even more naive to believe that Clare Short, a minister in one of the most powerful Northern countries, has a serious concern for children suffering in India. Clare Short's crocodile tears hide her responsibility for the exploitation of the Third World: a relationship which will continue as long as she can dictate to people in the South how they should and should not earn their money.
None of these references acknowledged any link to the Revolutionary Communist Party which had set up Genderwatch as a front group. This is confirmed in confidential internal documents produced by the RCP. In a document titled 'Looking towards the general election' dated November 1996 Genderwatch (along with another of 'our campaigns' Families for Freedom) was described as a campaign that had been 'slow to get established' The General Election campaign of 1997 was noted as offering 'major opportunities' for these campaigns to 'make a leap forward'. 'General public discussion about the election, manifestos, etc, allows our campaigns to take advantage of the election without even standing candidates'. In reality Genderwatch and Families for Freedom left little trace as the RCP became disoriented and reportedly dissolved itself.
- 'Looking towards the general election', RCP internal bulletin, November 1996, p. 2
- Don't mention the 'A' word Pro-Choice Forum website, acc 9 Feb 2011
- Listed in the Programme of 'The Week' an RCP conference held Friday 26 July to Thursday 1 August Living Marxism, No. 91, June 1996, p. 24.
- 10-04-96: 'Palestine: The Deadly Peace' - Journalist Eve Kay was invited by Genderwatch to speak on the state of the Middle East peace process on 2 October at the School of Oriental and African Studies. This is the text of her talk.
- Para Teare, 'The Grameen Bank experience', Living Marxism, No. 90 - May 1996, p. 21.
- Faiza Rady Banking for the poor, Al-Ahram Weekly, 19 - 25 August 1999 Issue No. 443, accessed 19 March 2011
- Fatimah Shah, Maher Anjum, Parasathi Teare, Yasmin Kabir Letter: No simple way out of poverty for Bangladeshi women The Independent (London) May 12, 1996, Sunday, Page 18
- Parasathi Teare. LETTER: CHILD LABOUR, ADULT SOLUTIONS The Guardian (London) May 16, 1997; Pg. 16.