The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 estimates that it will take another 135.6 years to close the global gender gap in economic participation and opportunity. Sadly, women continue to face greater challenges and disparities than men in reaching full empowerment and gender equality. While there has been considerable progress made in this regard, it is still a long way to go before women have equal access to education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and political representation.
In this article, we have focussed on the challenges being faced by women to lead a life of dignity, areas across which NGOs are working to support them, and a list of curated NGOs doing remarkable work on the ground to provide the women with a better quality of life.
The work of HelpYourNGO’s partner NGOs working towards women empowerment can broadly be classified under the following key categories:
- Domestic abuse: Women and girls around the world have reported facing violence and harassment in some form at their homes, workplaces, and communities. Providing support and resources to survivors of violence, raising awareness of the issue, and advocating for policies and laws that address gender-based violence is the need of the hour.
- Skill Development and Livelihood: ~53% of the overall female population in India has an undergraduate degree. The shocking statistic is that just 20% of women participate in the total workforce resulting in only about 9% of the companies have women in high positions. Women’s economic empowerment is essential for their well-being and independence. NGOs offer training and support to help women start and grow businesses, access financial resources, and develop essential skills. By doing so, they help women to become financially independent and improve their economic situation.
- Health and well-being: 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. They face barriers to education and healthcare, which can limit their opportunities and hinder their ability to lead healthy, productive lives.
- Education: 130 mn girls between the ages of 6 and 17 are out of school worldwide. The lack of education for girls has far-reaching consequences, not just for the girls themselves but for their families, communities, and societies as a whole.
- Representation: Women are under-represented in political leadership positions around the world. As of February 2021, only 14.4% of seats in Parliament were held by women in India. It is integral for women to have equal representation in deciding on matters concerning them.
There are many NGOs in India working towards addressing the above issues and focussing on improving the lives of women. One way to support them is by donating to reputable NGOs doing tireless work in the field of women empowerment. To make life easy for you, we have shortlisted 5 Best Women NGOs in India:
- Men against Violence & Abuse (MAVA)
Traditional efforts to tackle gender-based violence against women have concentrated on empowering women to assert themselves. This approach insulates men from the process of transformation and furthers the gender divide. Men, often become violent, aggressive, and uncaring due to patriarchal modes of socialization that moulds their psyche. Images of masculinity in society are linked to being strong and violent, and to notions that men with ‘power’ are ‘real men’. For the past 27 years, MAVA has been engaging and mentoring thousands of young men in schools, colleges and communities in healthy conversations around sexual health and gender-sensitive behaviour through leadership–driven training and using out-of-the box methods including interactive workshops, wall-newspapers, story-telling, folk songs, street-theatre, travelling film festivals, youth blogs and other social media. – Click here to view this NGO’s profile on HelpYourNGO
- Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC)
AAWC is an anti-trafficking organization that serves the women and children in the red light areas of Mumbai which is one of the largest and oldest red light areas in Asia. The scope of their work is diverse covering all aspects of the spectrum including health camps, nutritional support, shelter home, financial literacy, school admissions, therapy and counselling. Umang, a program for toddlers, works towards helping them develop physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills. All in all, AAWC provides tools and resources for empowerment to brothel-based prostitutes, their daughters, other marginalized girls and children, with the ultimate aim of preventing the cycle of intergenerational prostitution. An outcome of work of AAWC with young adolescents is that many girls have become successful and independent and some have even helped their mothers quit prostitution and supported their siblings’ education expenses. – Click here to view this NGO’s profile on HelpYourNGO
- PraveenLata Sansthan (PLS)
PLS works for behavioural, social & economic transformation of girls and women by providing them community based solutions in the areas of education, health and sustainable livelihood. The primary focus is on 4 E’s – Empowerment, Education, Employment and Environment – working around which they seek to alleviate the problems of the poor and their struggle to obtain a life of justice and dignity. ‘Spotless Dame’ – the NGO’s flagship program – is a capacity building initiative on menstrual hygiene management and sanitation. As part of the program, the NGO organizes awareness workshops on menstrual hygiene and distributes menstrual hygiene kit comprising of hand towel, soap, instruction manual and a set of reusable, eco-friendly sanitary pads that last for 5 years! The focus is more on educating the beneficiaries about the biological changes in their bodies and taking necessary action required for the same – rather than falling prey to old customs and blind faith, myths and taboos surrounding the sensitive topic of menstruation. The impact of the program has been manifold in locations where it has been implemented. Some of the key indicators being reduction in school dropouts, more confident girls, better awareness in managing menstrual hygiene, and reduction in child marriages cases. The initiative has won many accolades, both locally and globally. – Click here to view this NGO’s profile on HelpYourNGO
- Parinaam Foundation
Parinaam caters to the needs of the poor by providing them critical social services in the areas of healthcare, education, livelihood, and community development. Diksha Financial Literacy Programme, the NGO’s flagship program, is designed to help women from low income families with the knowledge and tools they need to manage cash-flow, save safely, reduce financial risk, plan for the future and make informed, intelligent financial decisions. It focusses on financial literacy and access to financial services. Parinaam partners with Ujjivan Small Finance Bank to integrate a savings initiative where families open savings accounts and are provided access to essential banking and financial services. Diksha has been recognised and acknowledged as a pioneering programme by the Reserve Bank of India. – Click here to view this NGO’s profile on HelpYourNGO
- Human Capital for Third Sector (Katalyst)
Katalyst, the flagship initiative, was started with the intent of empowering women from low income communities through the pursuit of professional education and enhancing their employability. The program envisions creating a large pool of such empowered women who will be in a position to influence society and catalyse positive change. They seek to prepare young women for leadership roles, thereby creating a wider talent pool for India and helping bridge the gender divide. Beneficiaries of the initiatives – ‘Katalysts’ – are capable, valuable talent, eager to shape their own future as well as the worlds. The four-year program prepares young women in STEM for leadership roles through a blend of unique development interventions. All the necessary support required for their growth is provided in the form of scholarship, laptop, health insurance, mentoring sessions, assistance with internships, practical training and exposure, and peer support. Many Katalyst alumni now occupy senior and leadership positions in MNCs and freshers are drawing average minimum salaries of Rs 6 lakhs p.a. – Click here to view this NGO’s profile on HelpYourNGO
There are many NGOs in India having their own unique approach and strategies, but sharing a common vision of removing the barriers coming in the way of women reaching their full potential.
Please note that the above list is not an exhaustive list of the best women’s NGOs and have been selected from the HelpYourNGO database based on our interactions with their programme team, NGO visit, previously/currently supported programme, etc.
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