Skilling the Rural Women: An Imperative


As defined by UN Women, gender-equality training is a tool, strategy, and means to effect individual and collective transformation towards gender equality through consciousness raising, empowering learning, knowledge building, and skill development. As per the Global Gender Gap Report 2022 by World Economic Forum, Gender parity is not recovering and it will take another 132 years to close the global gender gap. As crises are compounding, women’s workforce outcomes are suffering and the risk of global gender parity backsliding further intensifies.

Industree Foundation, as an organization, is leaving no stone unturned in empowering rural women by imparting training for skills, gender and entrepreneurship. Skills and Training does not only make women self-relient but it helps them understand the issues of gender discrimination in the society.

Women participation in the Indian workforce, both in the formal and informal economy dipped from 35% in 2005 to 26% in 2018, even as the economy grew twofold in that period along with a 25% increase in the number of working-age women. The Economist calls it the ‘missing 235 million.’ Targeted skills and work opportunities for women are needed for women, especially in rural India as the skills, job markets for women are different from those of men. 

In the process of creative design and manufacturing, Industree Foundation’s POWER (Producer Owned Women Enterprises) is imparting gender training and 6Y Skill Training for women producers. The 6 Y training programme encompasses You (the producer), Your Family, Your Community, Your Workmates, Your World and Your Planet. It focuses on self-efficacy and aims at building agency for the women producers on their journey from survival to sustenance and prosperity. The curriculum has been developed to make the women producers understand their role at individual, family, workplace, and community levels. So far, nearly 7000 women producers have undergone the 6Y training. Such training programs are helpful to understand gender parity and breaking cultural stereotypes. The training program is helping women to recognize their needs and empowers them with the liberty to live life on their own terms and conditions. They are being made to realize that they have the freedom of mobility, voice in decision making, and expression of feelings, both at the workplace and home.

It serves as the sensitization facilitator, which enables women to think and analyze their own lives, attitudes and world views because a good facilitator asks good questions and these questions enable women to think and analyze. Positions of leadership enable women to have a say in decision-making and protect other women under their leadership from abuse, further promoting sisterhood and empathy. This approach, coupled with financial literacy, group formation, social capital development, and participatory decision-making helps women identify issues and collectively resolve them because strength lies in unity.

Instilling confidence, creating a safe space to share the experiences supports to build up solidarity among the community. When it comes to women’s access and control over their assets, building an understanding of women’s space viz job opportunities, training, skills, incomes at the workplace and in personal life is imperative.

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