RWDS was promoted in 1986 as a response to the growing issues and marginalizing of the Rural Women of the Tiruvannamalai district.

Internalizing the grass root violation of human rights of women specifically of Dalits women and the pertinent need for asserting the rights of these hapless women, RWDS started to intervene in three Blocks in Tiruvannamalai district. Initially the organization focused more on the programs for awareness promotion among the rural women and the rural poor towards development of socially neglected women. The work started with organizing the rural women, small farmers and marginalized farmers. Focus was more on welfare and rehabilitation in this phase.