India is a nation that despite being personified to “Mother India” has had the harshest lifestyle for females.
Whether it is in decision-making, education, familial structures, workplaces or daily life, the prevalence of a gender-based, patriarchal society is clearly evident. What India fails to realize is the untapped potential of a part its population that has historically been held back by the reigns of social stigma. A nation on the path to potentially Developed status needs to make use of the viability of such a vast number of people whilst breaking orthodox notions of women “not being competent enough”. It is to tackle this discrimination and to bolster economic development through social upliftment that Women Empowerment is very important for our country.
Addressing this importance of Women Empowerment, SEED believes that women need empowerment in all spheres of societal structures – from education to healthcare to public opinion. For achieving this goal, we construct holistic development programs aimed at making women self-reliant, confident and able.
Stressing on one such program with Technip FMC, SEED impacted a large number of women in Suva Village of Bharuch, Gujarat. It was identified from this project that rural women are extremely unaware of the importance of healthcare and reproductive health. Most of them were housewives who were willing to take up income generating jobs for self-empowerment as well as financially supporting their families but they lacked the pre-requisite skills require to do so.
Taking into account all these factors, SEED implemented awareness and skill-development initiatives. Women were counseled and encouraged to give birth in hospitals, make use of the healthcare facilities developed for them, and bring their children for regular immunization, etc. in order to enhance their quality of life. Educating these women about Family Planning was priority and was done in guidance of Aasha worker in order to change the mindset of these people from “more kids means more working/earning hands” to “more kids means more mouths to feed and a degradation in quality of life”. Social infrastructure construction is also being undertaken and Anganwadi centers are being built following the guidelines of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Besides providing them this tangible infrastructural expansion, skill-development programs were conducted in the form of training in the SHGs in order to make sure the women become self-reliant and economically productive. Women were trained in Jute product making and Zari work and simultaneously educated on accounting, their products’ market, etc. This was in an attempt to promote an entrepreneurial ability in people who previously were considered “incompetent” and also to promote the growth of micro enterprises.
Not only does this form of empowerment lead to building up of confident, independent women in the backward villages, it also promotes overall economic development in the country since more people are contributing to the economy’s productivity. At SEED CSR, we believe that only wholesome projects that tackle every aspect of a community’s needs, can bring about visible change in betterment in the lives of people and that is what we aim to do with our efforts in corporate social responsibility.