A country’s progress towards women’s economic empowerment can be defined by the way women of that country use their voice and fundamental rights to move up from limited power to having skills and resources that set them on the path of growth and development. A path that leads them to socio-economic empowerment, financial independence, enabling them to make better choices in their lives and sustaining their livelihoods and their dependent families. It is a priority agenda for Industree, making its women transform from artisans to producers in the creative manufacturing space. Industree with support from USAID is focusing on socially and economically empowering women from marginalized communities in rural areas by taking work closer to their homes. But now is the time to take empowering initiatives a notch higher. It is the perfect opportunity to culminate efforts and bring together aspects of Gender, Climate and Equity (G, C and E) to implement it at both global and national policy level.
In India, statistics show that the Female Labor Force Participation Rate has dropped significantly, from 31.79% in 2005 to 19.7% in 2019. Most of the female workforce are informal workers and who work in labor intensive, low paying, perilous conditions, with no social protection and it is this informal work that is the biggest cause of feminisation of poverty. Also, it would be unfair to say that it is the case in India alone. It is not. This pattern has been visible in many other parts of the world where women have been excluded from developmental programs.
Since inception, Industree has been working to bring together the convergence of Gender and Equity, mirrored in its vision and its core activities. With a consensus to work towards climate positive actions, the climate factor is weaved into the narrative of gender and equity. While POWER has been at the forefront in addressing restrictive social norms to increase support for women as entrepreneurs, it is also enabling them economically and socially by working towards mainstreaming their creatively manufactured produce by helping them access markets and earn decent incomes. Women’s empowerment is enabled by working on the sustainable use of locally available natural resources such as banana, bamboo, NTFP/biodegradable leaf, supported by the professional management team of Industree to impart skills, gender and entrepreneurial training.POWER is also leading to higher value creation at source, good for climate, and is critical in connecting the produce with modern supply chains. Such powerful carbon sequestering value chains, and supply to consumers interested in growing circular economies, as showcased in POWER have phenomenal scale potential.
There is always a marked positive impact when the call to action is linked to income for women and deploying them in sustainable revenue generation streams. This enables the women improved educational opportunities, for better health and nutrition, family and an overall emphasis on creating an ecosystem that is sustainable, and grounded in the POWER initiative, managed and executed by women. With the help of USAID, Industree is gathering best practices, perspectives and solutions for ensuring the successful and self-sustainable integration of gender, climate and equity.