CSR's development department aims to better the situation of women in India by bringing about practical and tangible changes at the grassroot level. The division has a bottom-up approach in empowering women, and encouraging their participation as stakeholders in processes of change.
In order to secure, protect and make full use of their rights, women must be empowered to participate in politics. We work to build capacities of and strengthen understanding amongst all women in India of a range of pertinent political and legal issues, rights and opportunities, including: relevant governmental schemes; the structure and operation of Panchayats; existing development programs; and legal provisions with implications for women's lives, such as laws pertaining to child marriage, dowry and divorce. Through various projects, we aim to bring about awareness regarding the gaps that remain between women ’s rights as inscribed in legal documents and women ’s rights as practiced in daily life, encouraging women to demand and work for equal access to and implementation of the law.
We firmly believe that economic empowerment of women means more than just poverty alleviation. In order to provide and sustain economic improvements at all levels, women must be empowered to become wage earners and make their own financial decisions. Mahila Mandals, participatory self-help groups, provide a platform through which women engage in credit and savings initiatives aimed at meeting social financial needs and providing initial investments for micro enterprises. These self-governed groups provide financial and institutional support for women entering the paid workforce, while also offering opportunities for women to participate in skill-based trainings vital for income generation.
In India, life-changing decisions about a woman’s body are often not made by the woman herself, and while admirable and important, the promotion of reproductive health cannot alone result in physical empowerment. We feel it important to address the social roots as to why today’s women remain on the sidelines when it comes to their own physical bodies and well being. Thus, we engage in a range of activities aimed at examining questions such as, why do women have no say in the number of children they bear or when they bear them? Why do social biases such as male child preference preside over the well being of women, resulting in long-term negative effects for families and society alike? Through training sessions, research projects and advocacy campaigns, we reveal causes of and encourage formation of solutions to issues such as domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, sex-selective abortion, child abuse and sexual harassment.