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Women in Manufacturing

This factsheet is drawn from an ongoing IWWAGE-ISI study that seeks to examine the profile and background of women workers in contemporary industrial and urban landscapes – the kinds of opportunities available, barriers to participation, and aspirations and expectations from industrial employment. The study uses data collected from a survey of garment factory workers in Delhi NCR.The data is supplemented with more detailed information on current or aspiring women workers obtained through focus group discussions and interviews with women workers, and interviews with factory owners/managers, labour contractors, and so on.

Female Labour Force Participation Rate and Earnings Gap in India

Despite high economic growth, decline in fertility, and rise in schooling of girls, the Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLFPR) in India has declined in rural areas and stagnated in urban areas since the late 1980s. This is contrary to the global experience, where similar factors resulted substantial increase in the FLFPR. The recently released Periodic Labour Force Survey 2017-18 confirms the declining trend and shows FLFPR declined in all states with the exception of Madhya Pradesh and Goa. Women’s engagement in unpaid work is high in rural areas and while a majority of women are employed in regular wage work in urban areas, there are substantial wage differentials between men and women, most of the regular work of women is in the informal sector, and non-wage benefits are poor.  

Testing Approaches to Strengthen Gender within NRLM

With over 60 million women mobilised to be part of one of India’s largest livelihoods programme, the Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), holds great promise for advancing women’s socio-economic empowerment by organising them into self-help groups (SHGs) and institutions of the rural poor. These platforms are facilitating financial opportunities and livelihood support services for women.  The livelihoods programme works exclusively with rural women, and a critical element for its success has been the mission’s commitment towards prioritising women’s perspectives and being responsive to their needs and aspirations. This approach has been embedded across all DAY-NRLM activities with the goal of strengthening women’s agency, identity, well-being, and solidarity, through women’s collectivisation. NRLM believes that gender sensitisation and social action should be mainstreamed in its framework, systems, institutions and processes. To this end, it devised a Gender Operational Strategy in financial year 2019-20 committing actions that recognise women’s heterogeneity and the unique socio-economic barriers faced by them. Through Swayam, IWWAGE is partnering with DAY-NRLM to provide technical assistance to support this strategy and institutionalise gender across all levels of the Mission. The note gives a snapshot on the approaches to strengthen gender interventions by NRLM.

Empowering Women Collectives through Digital Initiatives in Chhattisgarh

Digital tools hold the promise of accelerating women’s empowerment, enhancing the effectiveness and efficacy of existing initiatives, providing new tools to improve knowledge, and creating new opportunities for women to connect and share information. Over the past year, the Initiative of What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE), an initiative of LEAD at Krea University, has been working with the Government of Chhattisgarh and other partners to map the current digitisation initiatives for women’s empowerment in the state, understand their effectiveness, and identify potential opportunities for improvement. Most of these initiatives revolve around Self-Help Groups (SHG), which are social support groups known for empowering women through social mobilisation and financial inclusion.

The SHG ecosystem in Chhattisgarh is managed by the state chapter of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Chhattisgarh’s State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM or CGRLM), also known as Bihan. Bihan has led initiatives to empower women collectives by improving their financial and market linkages, promoting access to entitlements, and providing capacity development support. IWWAGE aims to assist Bihan in its efforts to strengthen the SHG ecosystem, promoting and testing digital solutions that will allow women’s collectives to leverage their skills to access markets and services more effectively. This document serves to capture IWWAGE’s efforts with respect to summarising and understanding these digitisation initiatives, identifying gaps and barriers, and proposing potential use cases.