How We Make A Difference 

Poor, working women in India are not a homogenous group. They are divided on various grounds like caste, class, and employment activity. What they have in common is deprivation and discrimination in the home, in the workplace, in education, and in society at large:

—Women have poorer access to development

—Women are discriminated against in the family itself in terms of distribution of income consumption and assets

—Women have lower consumption levels, poorer health, and lower education

—Although women work for longer hours and contribute substantially to the family income, they are not perceived as workers

—Women’s position as the major earners for their families goes unrecognised

—The labour market favours men against women in almost all sectors

—The division of labour itself is highly sex biased

—Women are paid less than men in skilled and unskilled labour

—There is a slow rate of progress in women’s education with a virtual stagnation in the area of technical education

—One in three girls between the ages of 6-11 are not in school. One hundred per cent of boys in the same age range attend school.

—Since women have less access to education and skill training, they are unable to exploit the instruments through which women can attain equality.


IASEW, as part of the SEWA movement, helps women rise out of this deprivation and discrimination into individual and collective self-reliance through education, capacity building, and leadership training. We do this by


—decentralising our programmes, investing in and training community leaders and trainers, especially women

—taking programmes to our members’ doorsteps using tools they can easily access

—linking our members to services like SEWA Bank to help them achieve financial autonomy in their households

—providing legal education training designed to increase women’s knowledge of and ability to claim their rights as women, as workers, and as citizens

—offering programmes designed to build members’ self-confidence, competence, and responsibility

—providing enhanced leadership training around advocacy and negotiations, including exposure opportunities through travel and meetings with public officials

—implementing technical programmes around digital and communication skills, including an online women’s leadership course, and an online digital literacy class  

—building on women’s already-present wisdom through education so that they can be part of the chain of change and help more empower more women. 


We know we will have succeeded when our members have

—full employment

—increased income

—adequate food and nutrition

—safeguarded health

—consistent and/or improved housing

—increased assets

—increased organisational strength

—increased leadership skills

—individual and collective self-reliance