Women’s economic participation

An influential social entrepreneur working in this field is Chetna Gala-Sinha.  She is participating in our WCM Workshop in May 2010 and acting as a strategic and operational advisor to WCM.

Chetna is an Ashoka Fellow and Yale World Fellow working for social change in some of the poorest and most drought-stricken areas of rural India. She founded and is currently the president of a micro-enterprise development bank, its partner NGO, and a micro-business school for rural women.  Together, these three organizations offer a holistic approach to helping women in rural areas – one that strives to enhance the economic empowerment and advancement of rural women through savings and lending, education, property rights, and social security initiatives.  

Launched in 1996, Mann Deshi Foundation is the non-profit partner of Mann Deshi Mahila Sah Bank and Mann Deshi Bachat Gat Federation, which work together in drought prone areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka in India.  Mann Deshi’s mission is to provide poor rural women with business, financial, and marketing training and consultancy; access to financial services necessary for financial independence and self-sufficiency in addition to the confidence to pursue such.  Her organization is the first in its region to provide life, accident, and hospitalization insurance and pension schemes for women. For more information about Mann Deshi Foundation visit www.manndeshi.org.

Empowering women is about strengthening women’s economic capacity. Women must have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from their community’s economic life.

Worldwide, outside of the agricultural sector, in both developed and developing countries, women are still averaging slightly less than 78% of the wages given to men for the same work, a gap that refuses to close in even the most developed countries. See UNIFEM.

Women have made slow and uneven progress in obtaining a share of managerial positions, which, according to 2002 statistics of the ILO, ranged between 20-40% in 48 out of 63 countries. See WEF.

When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man. See Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World by Phil Borges, 2007.

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