Women, especially poor women in rural areas, remain the invisible backbone of their households and communities. However, their many disadvantages - lack of education or social capital, limited opportunities for skills training, few property rights and restrictive norms - mean low-paying labour work is often their only recourse to income. Interestingly, their earnings are almost always spent on improving their family's lives.
This programme grew from the finding that empowered women can bring about positive change, and aims to provide women with opportunities to earn independent incomes. This has another effect - economic empowerment strengthens women's position as decision-makers in their families and in their communities. ITC's programme focuses especially on women who are the only earning members of their families and have no assets or regular incomes.
With training and financial support, women can begin to explore income opportunities, set up small businesses or form self-help groups or sustainable micro-enterprises, with ITC also providing mentoring, entrepreneurial training and seed funding. A total of 4,192 operational SHGs are able to access financial aid, with over 4.18 lakh women of those trained have been linked to Government social security schemes.
Their earnings and savings mean better education, nutrition and health for their children - a vital investment in the future of their communities. Equally important, the confidence they gain along the way is helping to break gender inequalities, inspiring young rural girls, and eventually building a more equal society.
ITC's women empowerment programme has helped better the lives of 29,184 women who used to live in extreme poverty, and is active in 8 states - MP, Bihar, Telangana, Rajasthan, WB, UP, Uttarakhand and Assam.
Know more about ITC's work with rural women in the Sustainability Report 2021: https://www.itcportal.com/sustainability/sustainability-report-2021/sustainability-report-2021.pdf