to protect the girl child
and 258 SHGs formed
sensitized for gender tests
The Art of Living’s vision of women empowerment is to restore the power, dignity and respect in women that they enjoyed during Vedic times. In ancient India, the women enjoyed equal status as men in all aspects of life. Over the millennia, their position in the society has fallen to abysmal levels. Today, in many parts of India, a girl child does not even get a chance to take birth because of selective gender abortions. Those who get lucky to be born are further challenged by early marriage, lack of education and economic dependency on the male family members.
For more than three decades now, the Art of Living has been relentlessly working to improve the status of women in India. Our multi-dimensional solutions are geared towards the communities and the individuals and are meant to change their current behaviors at different stages of the lifetime of the girl child. Our teams have fought through the challenges and have worked on improving awareness in the society on the importance of the girl child, providing education and employment opportunities for them and helping them to be happy and confident so that they help in creating a healthy and a harmonious society.
In urban areas where women are educated and have economic freedom it is seen that a large majority of them lack the skill to deal with stress and emotional problems. Our programs are designed to empower these women further so that they get a better understanding of themselves and can become stronger emotionally.
“I was playing with my friends when my mother told me I would marry. My Life changed forever.” - Jyoti S, 12 year girl who was forced to marry a 35 years old man. We met her during our project against child marriages in Bihar
In a country where just a conversation on women empowerment is challenging, it is not hard for one to imagine how incredibly difficult it would be to bring about actual change. Shocking though true, the perception of women among the illiterate and poor in rural areas is as skewed as the educated and economically well-do-to in urban areas.
In many rural areas, a girl child is seen as an unproductive consumer and a liability. As a consequence, the mindset in these communities is to go for selective gender abortion or an early marriage of the girl child. Even if there are basic schooling facilities available, a girl child is deprived of education because she is primarily considered to take on the role of a home maker when she grows up. Those women who want to engage in economic activities face further roadblocks in learning a skill or getting funding to start their own micro-venture. At every stage, they have to fight the mindset of their immediate family members and the larger community.
In urban areas, women empowerment problems come in a different flavor. Even in educated families, women suffer physical, mental and economic violence because of dowry. Women who are able to get good education and are able join the professional mainstream are unable to cope up with work-life pressures and suffer from emotional and mental problems. The current education system does not prepare the workforce for real-world problems.
Through our projects in this sector, we have gained valuable insights into how to counter these challenges and to deliver women empowerment solutions effectively. We have localized our strategies to leverage cultural aspects and are able to deliver pointed solutions to problems.
Over the past 20 years it is estimated that about ten million female embryos have been selectively aborted in India
We have a multi-dimensional strategy to plan and execute projects that deal with the extremely complex topic of women empowerment issues.
A quantum shift in the mindset is orchestrated at the community, family and individual level so that each unit understands and develops appreciation of the value of a girl child. This is achieved through awareness camps, outreach programs and sensitization workshops tailored for each of these horizontal groups.
Tangible help in terms of resources, training and funding is provided to each of these groups to help them get started on the path of change. This is done by providing free education for adults and children, free medical facilities, skills and training workshops, resources to start micro-businesses and access to markets for finished products.
Depending on the opportunity, we use intervention approaches that address either the target problem as a standalone issue or as a single thread of a larger ecosystem problem.
For the last 32 years, we have been working to empower women through diverse initiatives that inculcate the value of sacredness and honor for the life beyond gender. The impact of these efforts has been very positive.
Over 1 million people have pledged their support to protect the girl child against discrimination and abuse. This is a part of a nationwide call for action program in partnership with UNICEF where the goal is to reach out to people to make them aware of the problem and to get their pledge that they will work at the individual, family and community level to address the issue.
A total of about 2000 women in 30 different villages are now either employed or self-employed as part of Value Integrated Services to All (VISTA) project where the women are given vocational training in garment stitching, embroidery and food items. The village communities have also been oriented to help them change their outlook towards these women.
Over 400 members are now a part of the Self Help Group (SHG) cooperative that has been formed under the Vishalakshi Women Empowerment Project (VWEP). The cooperative provides vocational training, loans and financial assistance to its members – most of who are from economically weak sections.
Around 100 women across 8 states are now a part of Sri Kriti program that provides training to produce ecofriendly products and helps these women to sell their finished products.
Please reach out to us to know more about our projects in the women empowerment sector and how we can partner to address this complex issue together.