In the small village of Anupshahr, Uttar Pradesh, very few know the words “women empowerment”.
They are unaware of the profound meaning these words carry in today’s society, and their social, political, and economic significance. Women in this village do not know about the various feminist campaigns running throughout the country. They haven’t read the most powerful women empowerment quotes or heard the most inspiring speeches on feminism.
And yet, more than a 100 women in this village are skilled, confident, and self-reliant. They are empowered women who make their own decisions, unfettered by social norms and gender stereotypes. They are the women who work at I Village Social Solutions. The opportunity to work hard to earn their own living changed their lives, and transformed them as individuals.
Seeing the happy and self-assured tribe of women workers at I Village, one can’t help but wonder, “Why does the simple step of providing employment to women in the rural areas lead to great changes not just in their own lives, but in the entire community as a whole?”
Financial sustenance leads to women empowerment
The most obvious answer is that the chance to be financially self-sufficient makes women less dependent on the men in their lives, and puts them in a better position to take care of themselves. I Village boasts of women workers who have escaped from abusive husbands and in-laws, because of their confidence in their ability to make a living for themselves. They had the courage to take control of their own lives, courage that they developed while at work as I Village artisans. Being able to support themselves financially made them realize they did not need to conform to anyone else’s wishes to live a fulfilling life.
Most of our artisans are incredibly passionate about what they do- girls at the I Village Production Centre love creating new products every day. Their satisfaction on seeing a complete product is unmatched, and their love for the beautiful, ethnic, designs is clearly visible in their eyes. This satisfaction also stems from the fact that despite being seen as a burden to the family throughout their childhood, they are valued at work for their talent. They are skilled, gifted and capable- beyond the scope of household chores and domestic responsibilities. With training from I Village, they are now producing an entire range of home decor, gifting products, clothing and accessories, and soft furnishings.
“It feels extremely good to know that my work is liked by customers in the city. I do everything to ensure that each piece is flawless, and made to the best of my abilities,” says a young girl working at the production centre.
For women who wish to pursue other fields, employment provides them with the financial security to do so. Young girls at I Village, whose future still lies ahead of them, aim for bold pursuits, from law to entrepreneurship, and use their earnings in helping them work towards their goals. They realize they not just have the power to dream, but also the means to turn their dreams into reality.
Our Mission and Vision
Our mission is to build a society where girls are not only independent and fearless as individuals, but also support each other in realizing their potential, and build a community of progressive, open-minded households that do not deny education, work opportunities, or equal rights to their girls. At work, rural women get the chance to leave the confines of their home, and interact with a network of supportive peers, who make them stronger. They get the opportunity to form bonds with new people, and share new, inspiring experiences with them. This is what women empowerment means to us.
By providing them with employment, the most powerful thing we do is harness the power of a group of women who believe in each other. They teach each other to not only act, but to think differently, and to value themselves. And this support for one another is their greatest strength, that reminds them to not succumb to the patriarchal norms of the society. It is this support that helped a girl gather the courage to stand up to her father for her right to higher education. It is this support that helped a divorcee to understand that she didn’t need a husband to validate her existence. Thanks to New Look, we’ve been able to launch a new production center which will provide the infrastructure needed to take our mission forward.
It is this support that helps them become empowered women, whether or not they know of the words women empowerment.