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Providing Social Security for Vulnerable Groups: Informal Women Workers of SEWA, India.

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Presentation on theme: "Providing Social Security for Vulnerable Groups: Informal Women Workers of SEWA, India."— Presentation transcript:

1 Providing Social Security for Vulnerable Groups: Informal Women Workers of SEWA, India

2 93% of the workforce is in the informal economy SEWA organises informal women workers. THE INFORMAL ECONOMY

3 Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) SEWA is a trade union of 796,000 women workers in the informal economy in Gujarat and 7 other states. It was founded by Elaben Bhatt in 1972.

4 SEWA’S GOALS & SOCIAL SECURITY Work & Income Security Food Security A. Full Employment: Social Security: - health care - child care - insurance - shelter - pension

5 SEWA’S GOALS & SOCIAL SECURITY Economic Decision-making and control B. B.Self-Reliance:

6 Social Security: OUR APPROACH need-based, at doorsteps decentralized – through local teams, associations women – led, community - based self – reliant - contributory - through workers’ organisations holistic and integrated - with work security - with other services - within a service

7 Social Security: OUR APPROACH promotes organising, entry of new members partnerships - with other People’s Organisations, NGOs - government - private sector grassroots work policy action

8 SEWA SOCIAL SECURITY – OUTREACH (2005) A. A. Health Care through Cooperatives - Health Education - 28,169 - Camps - 38,380 - Sale of Low cost Drugs - Rs. 11,106,007 - T.B. Screening Team: Staff Aagewans & Health workers Through workers’ cooperative

9 SEWA SOCIAL SECURITY – OUTREACH (2005) B. B.Child Care - Children Mothers Teachers Team: Staff - 21 Aagewans - 22 Teachers Through workers’ cooperative

10 SEWA SOCIAL SECURITY – OUTREACH (2005) C. Insurance Total Insured - 187,973 Team: Staff - 75 Aagewans Through workers’ cooperative

11 SEWA SOCIAL SECURITY – OUTREACH (2005) D. D.Housing Urban 73 slums 10,500 families Rural 5345 houses Team: Staff Aagewans Through local CBOs

12 Some Lessons 1. 1.Social Security for and by women workers promotes organising — it both builds solidarity and provides useful services. 2. Linkage with formal systems can be forged — with government, employers, others — to provide social security. 3. When women workers run their own social security programmes, it is empowering. They become strong leaders, managers.

13 Some Lessons 4. 4.Social security programmes for informal workers can be sustainable — financially and in terms of human resources Women workers are willing to contribute for social security. 5. Social security must address workers’ varied and multiple needs —as comprehensive as possible. 6. Special organisations and institutions must be created for social security for informal workers preferably membership — based organisations — e.g. cooperatives.

14 Some Lessons 7. 7.Work security and social security are two sides of the same coin. Each cannot be attained without the other Social security can and must lead to employment of local women. Possible areas: dais, creche workers, insurance promoters Partnerships are necessary to ensure that social security actually reaches the poor. Government alone or the private sector alone cannot reach the poor (although the government must bear the primary responsibility).

15 Challenges expansion – huge demand expansion – huge demand quality control quality control capacity building - of aagewans capacity building - of aagewans - of local teams - of local teams - of organisers - of organisers viability, self reliance viability, self reliance policy environment: policy environment: e.g. dais, own e.g. dais, own insurance company, insurance company, childcare entitlement childcare entitlement

16 Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)


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