Human Rights in South Asia – Vandana Shiva

When talking about philanthropists in India, the two names that will most likely come to mind are Ghandi and Mother Theresa. But while those two have already shuffled off this mortal coil, there is one that is still alive, well and active in the fronts of environmentalism and eco-feminism, and that is Vandana Shiva. During her career, Shiva has struggled to shift agriculture and food paradigms, and has also contributed intellectually to the fields of biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics, genetic engineering and intellectual property rights. As a pioneer of eco-feminism, Shiva claims that its mission is to change the way that societies look at productivity and activity of both women and nature, who have erroneously been labeled as passive, leading to the misuse of both.

Vandana Shiva was brought into this world in the valley of Dehradun (Northern India). Her father was a conservator of forests and a farmer, and her mother had a deep affinity with nature. She started her education at St Mary’s School in Nainital, and at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Dehradun. After obtaining a bachelors degree in physics, she set her sights in a M.A. in the philosophy of science at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada. By 1979, she finished and received her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. Eventually, she undertook interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, at the Indian Institute of Science, and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.

Her labor has been recognized with many international awards, including the Order of the Golden Ark (Netherlands, 1993), VIDA SANA International Award (Spain, 1993), Pride of the Doon (Dehra Dun, India, 1995), The Golden Plant Award (Denmark, 1997), Alfonso Comin Award (Spain, 1997), the Commemorative Medal by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (Thailand, 1998), Pellegrino Artusi Award (Italy, 2000), HORIZON 3000 Award (Austria, 2001), the Sidney Peace Prize (Australia, 2010) and the Calgary Peace Prize (Canada, 2011).