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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Rural women: striving for gender transformative impacts

Mahesh Chander
Mahesh ChanderIndian Veterinary Research InstituteIndia

Starting from no or little encouragement from families, improper policies, unequal opportunities, lack of literacy, education,  lack of skilling programmes for women and lack of finanacial support, most of the women are trapped in a life of food insecurity and poverty, while only a few rural women manage to move forward and become successful entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurship programmes are focussed mostly on men, while women find them engaged in menial jobs having no potential to turn them into entrepreneurs. The formal participation of women in development oriented meetings are also very limited. Women need- skilling, more formal participation, policies favouring their enhanced role in developmental activities, programmes. From the early age they need mentoring for entrepreneurship and importance of being independent to be able to stand on their own.May be  in schools courses are  introduced to mentor them on economic independence and value of income generating skills to earn one's  own livelihood. The families need also programmes to motivate them to encourgage female members of the households to acquire skills to earn income and have finanacial independence to reduce burden on families. The Finanacial institution should come forward to support skilling programmes for women and helping in setting up ventures by women since women often lack colletrals land titles being not in their names. I find women Dairy Cooperative programme of NDDB in India as one wonderful initiative (http://nddb.coop/services/cooperative/enhancewomen) owards empowering women. Likewise, we need programmes to skill, support, handhold rural women so that they can stand on their own through economic activity undertaken by them. I had once an opportunity to evalauate Women Dairy Cooperatives established under the programme, "Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)" of Ministry of women & Child Development in India (http://wcd.nic.in/schemes/support-training-and-employment-programme-women-step). I found it very beneficial for women who could learn skills and empower themselves finanacially and socially. Such programmes implemented in the right spirit can be the real game changer.