Women Empowerment

Issue Identification

The realities of women in rural India are difficult to comprehend. Women are deprived of their fundamental and personal rights, often as a matter of tradition. Besides their reservation in local politics, women are kept behind in the family and in the society. A systematic bias is evident against women in access to basic resources such as education, health and nutrition.

In rural areas, women are generally not perceived to have any meaningful income generation capacity, and hence, they are relegated mainly to household duties and cheap labor. Without the power to work and earn a good income, their voices are silenced. Even in matters of sex and child bearing, women often do not have the ability to oppose the wishes of their men.

In India majority of rural women depend on agriculture for survival, and less than 20 per cent own land. Land is a crucial economic asset for women in poor rural communities. Increasing livelihood insecurity makes her weak and dependent. Given the complementarities of patriarchy, caste and class, women of the poorest classes of marginalized Dalit and tribal communities bear much of the brunt of these insecurities, even as they also face severe restrictions on mobility and myriad forms of violence.

Although efforts have been taken to improve the status of women, but the constitution dream of gender-equality is miles away from becoming a reality, even today. The attention needs to be focused on the following issues to maintain the dignity and respect for women’s health in our country.

SEDT – Women Empowerment Program

There is no development more effective than the empowerment of women
Kofi Anan

SEDT has been working on the women issues since more than 20 years. Main thrust of SEDT work has been to organize, empower and make women self reliant.

We believe empowerment of women involves many things - economic opportunity, social equality, and personal rights etc. We at SEDT ensure that leadership qualities among women are developed and nurtured. We strongly believe that no holistic development can be attained and sustained without equal participation of the women.

Our Aim

  • Women empowerment
  • Gender Equality in every aspect of life

Our Approach

  • Capacity building of women to strengthen her with information and skills
  • Organize and mobilize women on their rights and equality
  • Forming women SHGs (Self Help Groups) and linking the SHGs to income generation initiatives for economic emergence
  • Focused intervention to address women in distress, discrimination and domestic violence

SEDT Intervention for Women Empowerment

1. Women Self Help Group (SHG) Formation and Linkages-

For more than decades, SEDT is involved in the process of women SHG formation and providing support and assistance to SHGs for self reliance and sustainable development. It’s a campaign and movement for the development of women. The activities are mainly focused on –

  • Organizing women and forming SHGs and interlinking the SHGs to build a movement of development
  • Developing linkages for skill development and income generation programs
  • Perspective development - supporting each other and collectively campaigning for rights

The SHG movement has proved as a tool to inform, aware and empower women. SEDT has been conducting following activities on-going basis over last 20 years.

  • Community awareness campaign
  • Training sessions and capacity building workshop
  • Experience sharing platform and convention programs
  • Exposure visits
  • Skill development workshops

Subjects like human rights and women rights in particular, access to resources and institutional service delivery, skill development and entrepreneurship development are addressed in the aforesaid initiatives.

Today, SEDT has been instrumental in forming 1500 SHGs in 110 villages. Our 12,530 SHG members are actively participating in the organizational activities and development process at large.

No. of SHGS 1300
No. of Villages 130
No. of women members 14470
Total Saving of women More than Rs. 1 CR
Bank Linkages group 875
Loan from banks and financial Institutes Rs. 5 CR
No. of women initiatives in different trades. 3500

This network of 15000 women has influenced countless household and community decision and action discriminating women of their rights. The several issues addressed by women includes* –

  • Domestic violence
  • Addiction in men at household and community level
  • Issues faced in Public Delivery System (PDS)
  • Issues faced in Public Health Centers (PHCs)
  • Helping hand to destitute and widow women
  • Participation of women in Panchayat and village level committees

Several other indicators that imitate change in women are –

  • Increased participation of women in local bodies and committees, like Village Education Committee
  • Increased attendance and participation of women in Gramsabhas
  • Initiatives of women to solve village problems like community hygiene and sanitation, cleanliness and development of school infrastructure etc.

2. Training in Handicraft to the Ethnic Communities

SEDT with the support of Textile Ministry, Government of India has been working with 290 women artisans of Banjara and Muslim communities. These women are trained on various skills like embroidery, cloth work, hand embroidery, jari-jardosi work etc. The activity aims to help women in their ethnic skills are link the products to the market having demand for such items. Efforts are also been taken by SEDT to build an assured market for these women, so that a women entrepreneurial model could be developed.

The strength of collectivity is one of the strength of this initiative. Today, 273 artisan women are insured under the Rajiv Gandhi Help Insurance Scheme.

3. Family Counseling Center - FCC

Since April 2008, the Family Counseling Center has been operational with the support of ‘Department of Women and Child Development’, Government of Maharashtra. The FCC aims to provide emotional and technical assistance to distressed women and assist her in legal matters whenever in need.

The center is functional in cooperation with legal support system of Government. The linkages and rapport of our women with local police stations has proved as a pressure groups to tackle the issues of women including – domestic violence, insecurity, injustice and property rights etc.

Activities like – guidance sessions, informative meets, education workshops are arranged by the Center on regular basis.

The purpose is also to provide necessary support to save her from social evils and injustice. As an indicator, we would like to mention here that, every year around 250 families are saved from separation and divorce.

4. Priyadarshani Non Agriculture Co-operative Credit Society PNACCS

This is one of the successful initiatives undertaken by the SHG women. 222 women of the SHGs in 7 villages came together and decided to establish Non - Agriculture Co-operative Credit Society. With the guidance of SEDT, PNACCS was established in the year 2002 but actual working was started since last year.

This society has started internal transactions and till date have a deposit of Rs. 3,04,000/- and a loan disbursement amount of Rs. 7,52,876/-.

Also opened 308 Saving accounts and 71 RD accounts.