From the Viewsroom

Why rural women need a job

Tina Edwin | Updated on February 19, 2019 Published on February 19, 2019

It drives household incomes as well as socio-cultural change

The most visible impact of teaching rural women some skills and getting them employed in paid work is the rise in household income and a relative sense of financial independence. Even small amounts earned by the women, mostly working part-time, can at once give them a sense of feeling liberated, as they can take decisions on making small expenditure without depending on their husbands for money and approval. In most cases, women spend their earnings to pay small expenses such as getting an LPG cylinder refilled, buy things for their children and even pay their school or tuition fees. Spending on self is very low on their priority. Financial independence also boosts self-esteem and confidence of these women.

There are other benefits from getting women out of their homes to a place where they will share with other co-workers. It begins the process of socio-cultural transformation in a rural society. One, the village gradually learns accept as normal for women, even the ones who keep their faces veiled, to step out of their home to work. Two, it can help greater integration in villages where caste and religious divisions run deep when women from diverse backgrounds work together. Three, the quality of conversations that these women hold undergoes a change. Women at various skill centres told this writer that they now discuss issues that affect their lives.

Given that the Indian society continues to be highly conservative and patriarchal, getting women to step out of their house and outside the boundary of their village continues to be a challenge, even in rural areas near a metropolitan city like Delhi. But due to persistent interventions by government agencies and civil society, and particularly individuals who run skill training centres, that often double up as some sort of production centre providing employment, a change is visible.

Published on February 19, 2019
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