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Five financial institutions helping in women empowerment in India

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By Shivya Malhotra

New Delhi: Cooperative financial institutions in India have contributed immensely not only in empowering women but also encouraging them to march towards the realm of development. Not only did they usher a paradigm change in the society but also improved women’s social and economic condition in all spheres of life.

Being autonomous in nature, the cooperatives focus on the welfare of the members associated with it thereby making lives better without being under the control of a single person.

Here are five women-centric cooperatives which played a pivotal role in changing futures of many Indian women.

Kodachadri Women Souharda Cooperative Credit Society

This first all-women society of its kind came into existence in Tirthahalli Taluk under the Karnataka Souharda Sahakari Act. The society provides loans to help women entrepreneurs who are interested in setting up various ventures including handicraft, packaging, dairy farming, and handlooms earn a livelihood.  Over 2,500 women have benefited from the society.

Lauding the initiative of the society, President of the Karnataka Cooperative Apex Bank, R M Manjunatha Gowda said, “the society is looking further to provide skill-based and vocational training for rural women.”

The society has encouraged many women to be self-sufficient and contribute to the growth of the Indian economy.

Subhalaxmi Bahumukhee Mahila Samabaya Samiti Ltd.

The tenacity of 10 women transformed the lives of over 2,500 women in Jharsugda district by organizing them in Self Help Groups (SHG). Starting with nine villages, the group reached out to 51 villages to empower women. The body provides loans, helps in business plans, and carries out other activities to assist rural women in self-sustainability.

Shri Mahila Sewa Sahakari Bank Ltd.

This Micro-finance institution, established in  1974 as an Urban Cooperative, shaped the future of many women working in the unorganized sector.  Besides providing loans, they also help in charting strategies for small and medium scale business.

The 4,000 women members contributed Rs 10 each to inaugurate the Shri Mahila Sewa Sahakari Bank Ltd. Since then, the organization acts as a helping hand to the women workers caught in the vicious cycle of poverty.

Nayuma Women’s Co-operative Society Ltd.

Set up in August 2001, Nayuma Women’s Co-operative Society Ltd is fulfilling the need to generate employment for marginalized women. The body trains women in various fields, especially tailoring and cutting. The trainees are also given opportunities to get themselves established. Later, manufacturing of craftwork and handloom products was expanded into a large scale of business activities.

Mann Deshi Bank

The organization, since 1997, has been catering to the needs of rural women by providing financial services to them. The society went ahead to open seven branches and provided assistance to countless women for self-sustainability.

“In order to fulfill the need of rural poor and make ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ a success, the Banking system in India needs a reinvention.” Said the founder,  Chetna Sinha.

Being the second largest microfinance bank in India, the organization is still ensuring to accumulate high results for the society as a whole.

These institutions have ushered in a new India where women are actively taking part in the nation-building process. The government needs to look into these and provide all out assistance and help setting up such bodies to reach to the women across the country.

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Family Size Can Be Determined By Reproductive Rights: Study

To make freedom of choice a reality, the report urges countries to offer universal access to quality reproductive health care

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Reproductive Rights, abortion
A community health worker holds up contraceptives during a lecture on family planning at a reproductive health clinic run by an NGO in Tondo city, metro Manila. VOA

Family size is closely linked to reproductive rights, according to the State of World Population 2018 report.

The U.N. report says people in developed countries tend to have lower fertility rates because of greater access to family planning services, modern contraceptives and age-appropriate sex education.

The director of the U.N. Population Fund office in Geneva, Monica Ferro, says in places where reproductive rights are constrained, either due to lack of resources or government mandates, people have a limited ability to choose the size of their families.

reproductive rights
Google suspends Ireland’s Abortion Referendum Ads, VOA

“Many sub-Saharan African countries, for example, have fertility rates of four or more births per woman,” Ferro said. “At the other end of the spectrum, you have some eastern Asian and European countries with fewer than two births per women. In both cases, individuals face obstacles to the full realization of their reproductive rights.”

The world population is expected to increase by 2.5 billion by 2050, to nearly 10 billion people, with sub-Saharan Africa expected to contribute more than half of that growth.

Women in Africa must overcome many legal and social barriers to achieve control of their fertility, Ferro said.

reproductive rights
Women in Africa must overcome many legal and social barriers to achieve control of their fertility.

“Women may not have the access to medical services,” she told VOA. “They may not have the access to child care. They may not have access to all the institutional and social support that comes with being ready or being able to plan your fertility.”

Also Read: Brisbane, Australia Protests Against Plans To Decriminalise Abortion

To make freedom of choice a reality, the report urges countries to offer universal access to quality reproductive health care, including modern contraceptives and better education.

It also advocates for a change in men’s attitudes toward a woman’s right to choose the number, timing and spacing of children. (VOA)