From Development to Empowerment: The Self-Employed Women's Association in India

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Abstract

Since the 1970s, development experts have increasingly focused on how development policies and strategies affect women in developing countries. In recent years, the emphasis has included empowerment, which increases women's decision-making capability and well-being. This essay is an account of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) in India, a trade union for self-employed women since 1972. It analyzes the strategies that SEWA has used to mobilize and empower self-employed women in India, using materials and data collected on a field visit in 1998.