International Women’s Day at SETU

One of SETU’s biggest mission is to strive for women empowerment. To achieve this objective, we at SETU are constantly working towards introducing the women artisans to skill based employment avenues so that they can support their families financially and thus have an equal say in the society. To increase awareness on the subject, on the occasion of women’s day, a workshop was organised by SETU for the women artisans of JSS Rajivika Self Help Group, Rajasthan.

SETU has been working with these women for almost two years. It is an all women group who uses recycled cotton rags and jute to make products. SETU team trained them to created good quality & functional products like bags, baskets and decorative rugs. This not only helped them add value to their products, but also gave them a new market edge & elite niche to their products! The craft form is the sole source of income for the women artisans here, other than working in the fields under contractors, at meagre wages. Also, they get work only seasonally like in harvest days etc…

The awareness workshop was conducted regarding issues related to women’s health & safety and major social stigmas concerning the “weaker” sex in the present scenario. Following major points were discussed in the session:

• Gender equality
• Financial independence of women
• Female safety issues
• Status of women in the society
• Child Marriage
• Domestic Violence
• Educating the girl child..
• A girl child’s right in her father’s property..

The session started with an interactive discussion on “what the word Women Empowerment stands for”. SETU team elaborated more on the importance of the overall empowerment of women. Here the term ‘overall’ means human rights, legal and education rights along with economic independence & social enhancement of women. A completely safe and protected environment for women is a necessity of the country. The sense of freedom is also a part of it.

Effect of stress on women’s health and over the entire family was also discussed in the session. Stress has a negative impact on family bondings and also productivity at work suffers due to stress. The most common reasons for stress experienced by women are as follows:
• Domestic violence
• Incompatibility with the spouse
• Frequent disagreements on household matters between husband and wife
• Insomnia
• Thinking too much about the future of children or any other household matter
• Husband being addictive of tobacco or alochol
• Being mistreated and not given respect
• The fear of children getting engaged in wrong activities.
• Increased inflation causing a toll on the family spendings and needs.

It was suggested in the workshop that one has to free herself from stress of any kind. For this yoga can be of great help, also talking with your friends and family and trying to find a solution to the problem can also ease away the stress. Various other ways were also discussed.

Later in the gathering, SETU team threw light on the various programmes being run by SETU for the welfare of women artisans. These programmes help the artisans to identify the craft form they can gain expertise in and then work towards polishing the skills required for it.

A total of 15 women artisans attended the workshop. Generous prizes & snacks were distributed in the workshop to encourage women to interact & put forth their thoughts with confidence!