According to Census India, 68.4% of workers in India are males, and only 31.6% are females. This disparity indicates the lack of employment opportunities for women in the country, especially in rural areas. Women in rural India struggle to become financially independent.
Several NGOs have taken the initiative to empower women and help them become socially and financially independent. SEWA Bharat is one of them. Today, let’s talk about how SEWA Bharat is helping Indian women become socially, financially, and economically independent.
SEWA Bharat: An Overview
Established in 1984, SEWA Bharat is a part of the national SEWA movement. SEWA stands for Self-Employed Women’s Association and is a national federation of women working in the informal economy. The organization works towards promoting informal female workers’ rights, financial independence, livelihoods, education, social security, and health.
The SEWA movement was established in 1972 by Smt. Ela Bhatt to empower female workers across India. It’s a women’s trade union that was originally borne out of the Textile Labor Association (TLA), the oldest union of textile workers in India. The focus of the SEWA movement was to secure the economic, legal, and social rights of women workers.
The SEWA movement started in Gujarat, and over 40 years, it has expanded across India as a multistate movement. By 2016, there were close to 2 million SEWA members in 17 Indian states.
Since 1972, SEWA has been committed to:
- Strengthen women by establishing a common identity, known as informal workers
- Empower women as leaders of their own programs
- Keep workers’ needs, visions, and rights at the center
- Uphold non-violence demonstration methods
The Role of SEWA Bharat
Let’s look at how SEWA Bharat is working towards empowering women in India.
- Strengthen Smaller SEWAs: Helping smaller SEWAs plan and execute new programs
- Facilitating Linkages: Linking existing SEWAs with new SEWAs, NGOs, and government programs to facilitate informal women workers’ development
- Developing New SEWAs: Setting up new SEWAs to cater to the need of women across India
- Building a National Identify for SEWAs: Advocating women rights across India
SEWA Bharat Goals
SEWA Bharat focuses on providing full employment and self-reliance to informal women workers. In India, women in rural areas often struggle to get employment and make a living for themselves. SEWA Bharat tries to resolve this hurdle by providing these women with the platform and opportunity to become independent.
Full Employment: SEWA Bharat provides full employment to women, including financial, economic, food, and social security.
Self-Reliance: SEWA Bharat supports women to become self-reliant and autonomous in terms of financial and decision-making abilities.
SEWA works with four types of self-employed women workers:
- Vendors, hawkers, and small business women
- Home-based workers
- Service providers and manual laborers
- Producers and farmers
Women empowerment has been a growing topic in India, and SEWA Bharat has given the right direction to the movement. True women empowerment is all about making women financially and socially independent. SEWA Bharat empowers women workers by providing them with full employment and self-reliance.