Overview

The Art of Living’s vision of women empowerment is to restore the power, dignity, and respect in women that they enjoyed during Vedic times. In ancient India, the women enjoyed equal status to men in all aspects of life. Over the millennia, their position in society has fallen. Today, in many parts of India, a girl child does not even get a chance to take birth because of selective gender abortions. Others are challenged by early marriage, lack of education and economic dependency on the male family members.

For more than three decades now, The Art of Living has been relentlessly working to improve the status of women in India. Our multi-dimensional solutions are geared towards the communities and the individuals. These are meant to change their current behaviors at different stages of the lifetime of the girl child. Our teams have fought through the challenges and have worked on improving awareness in the society on the importance of the girl child, providing education and employment opportunities for them and helping them to be happy and confident so that they help in creating a healthy and a harmonious society.

“I was playing with my friends when my mother told me I would marry. My life changed forever.” - Jyoti S, 12-year-girl who was forced to marry a 35-year-old man. We met her during our project against child marriages in Bihar.

In urban areas where women are educated and have economic freedom, it is seen that a large majority of them lack the skill to deal with stress and emotional problems. Our programs are designed to empower these women further so that they get a better understanding of themselves and can become stronger emotionally.

Challenges

Women empowerment is challenging. In many rural areas, a girl child is seen as an unproductive consumer and a liability. As a consequence, the mindset in these communities is to go for selective gender abortion or an early marriage of the girl child. Even if there are basic schooling facilities available, a girl child is deprived of education because she is primarily considered to take on the role of a homemaker when she grows up. Those women who want to engage in economic activities face further roadblocks in learning a skill or getting funding to start their micro-venture. At every stage, they have to fight the mindset of their immediate family members and the larger community.

Over the past 20 years, it is estimated that about ten million female embryos have been selectively aborted in India.

In urban areas, women empowerment problems come in a different flavor. Even in educated families, women suffer physical, mental and economic violence because of dowry.

Through our projects in this sector, we have gained valuable insights into how to counter these challenges and to deliver women empowerment solutions effectively. We have localized our strategies to leverage cultural aspects and deliver pointed solutions to problems.

Strategy

We have a multi-dimensional strategy to plan and execute projects that deal with the extremely complex topic of women empowerment issues.

  • A quantum shift in the mindset is orchestrated at the community, family and individual level so that each unit understands and develops an appreciation of the value of a girl child. This is achieved through awareness camps, outreach programs and sensitization workshops tailored for each of these horizontal groups.
  • Tangible help in terms of resources, training, and funding is provided to each of these groups to help them get started on the path of change. This is done by providing free education for adults and children, free medical facilities, skills and training workshops, resources to start micro-businesses and access to markets for finished products.

Depending on the opportunity, we use intervention approaches that address either the target problem as a standalone issue or as a single thread of a larger ecosystem problem.

Impact

For the last 37 years, we have been working to empower women through diverse initiatives that inculcate the value of sacredness and honor for life beyond gender.  The impact of these efforts has been very positive.

  • Over 1 million people have pledged their support to protect the girl child against discrimination and abuse. This is a part of a nationwide call for action program in partnership with UNICEF where the goal is to make people aware of the problem and commit to a solution-oriented approach at the individual, family and community level to address the issue.
  • A total of about 2000 women in 30 different villages are now either employed or self-employed as part of Value Integrated Services to All (VISTA) project where the women are given vocational training in garment stitching, embroidery, and food items. The village communities have also been oriented to help them change their outlook towards these women.
  • Over 400 members are now a part of the Self Help Group (SHG) cooperative that has been formed under the Vishalakshi Women Empowerment Project (VWEP). The cooperative provides vocational training, loans, and financial assistance to its members – most of who are from economically weak sections.
  • Around 100 women across 8 states are now a part of Sri Kriti program that provides training to produce eco-friendly products and helps these women to sell their finished products.

Please reach out to us to know more about our projects in the women empowerment sector and how we can partner to address this complex issue together.

Contact Us

India office

Phone: +91 80 67612300​
Fax :+91 80 2843 2833
Email: secretariat@artofliving.org 
Address: Office of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The Art of Living International Center, 21st KM, Kanakapura Road, Udaypura, Bangalore South, Karnataka - 560082, India

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A multi-faceted approach to social initiatives has saved many lives, lit many smiles, and helped communities experience progress. Every piece of service work is created with dedicated analysis, thoughtful care - keeping humaneness in the forefront. Progressive change and sustainable impact happen when the affected are supported at every step of their journey. Walk with us as we walk with others. And together let’s build hope for every member of our global family.

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