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Azad Foundation’s First International Conference an eyeopener

for what it takes to bring Resource Poor Women into employment

  • 92% of India’s women workforce in informal sector: Not aware of better Avenues
  • Participation of women in informal sector has declined from 39% to 27% in the last two decades
  • More than 1,600 resource poor women have been empowered by Azad Foundation and Sakha to become employable in the transport industry as chauffeurs. This also includes DTC’s first woman driver, UN’s first woman driver among others
  • Women trained to take up NTL options including construction workers, electricians, motor mechanics, women veterinary doctor etc.
  • Beneficiaries from Nepal, Africa, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana share their experience of being employed in Non-Traditional Livelihood

New Delhi, 16th January, 2019: Azad Foundation, pioneers in practice and knowledge creation in the domain of Women and Non-Traditional Livelihoods organised India’s First International Conference on ‘Making Non-Traditional Livelihoods Work for the Marginalised’. The 3-day programme starting today will end on January 18th 2019 and will deliberate on issues related to livelihood options of resource poor women in India.

As per Azad Foundation, there was a huge potential to employ women in Non-Traditional livelihood options. Women beneficiaries from across India particularly from Africa, Nepal, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra shared their experiences on how getting employed in NTL changed their lives.

Commenting on the announcement, Ms. Meenu Vadera, Founder and Executive Director, Azad Foundation said, “Commenting on the announcement, Ms. Meenu Vadera, Founder and Executive Director, Azad Foundation said, “The First International Conference on non-traditional livelihoods, addresses issues of gender discrimination in workforce around the world and pay parity across Asia and particularly for India. CSOs and practitioners are demonstrating the power and potential of enabling resource poor women get into non-traditional livelihoods. In India predominantly, the situation concerning women’s workforce participation is alarming with only 27% women engaged in productive work force.”

“The living conditions of Indian poor women and gender division of labour at home and gendered notions of what work women can do outside their homes has restricted their ability to work outside in remunerative jobs and create a favourable environment for themselves and their families. With this

conference we aim to appeal to Indian policy makers to consider NTLs as having a significant potential for empowering today’s resource poor women to gain livelihoods with dignity”, she added.

Azad Foundation has been working relentlessly to address issues related to non-traditional livelihood for resource poor women. Women on Wheels is a successful flagship programme of Azad Foundation and Sakha that has enabled more than 1600 resource poor women to become employable in the transport industry as chauffeurs who have successfully provided safe rides to more than a million women. This also includes DTC’s first woman driver, UN’s first woman driver among others.

Eminent speakers like Jayati Ghosh, Development Economist and Professor of Economics, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Wenny Kusuma, UN Women Representative, Nepal, Marissa Wesley, CEO, Win-Win Strategies, United States of America, Theo Sowa, CEO, African Women’s Development Fund, Susan Moir, Founder, Tradeswoman Building Bridges in India and USA and Research Director for PGTI, Hope Chigudu, Co-Founder, Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network, Zulminarni Hidjazi Arsyad, President, ASPBAE, Philippines discussed some significant issues about the trembling condition of resource poor women across Asia with current context in the India market.

An interesting session of women practitioners and beneficiaries i.e Professional Women Drivers and Women Construction Workers took the audience to think some of the most topical issues of mainstreaming the education for resource poor women to enable them become breadwinners. The session also threw light on why women should take up Non-Traditional (NTL) Jobs and what can be done to promote women in Non-Traditional Jobs.  

The Conference is borne out of the experience that Azad and Sakha have garnered over ten years and brings together ‘experts who/influence policy’ and who make the change happen – with the practitioners’ to collectively brainstorm on what is the need of the hour. 


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