Self Employed Women’s Association in India

By: Jake Gallagher | August 22, 2023

In many cultures, women and girls are in charge of providing water to their families. Although the activity appears simple, it involves significant physical demands on many women and girls who must physically collect water from a river, communal well, or other source and deliver it to their homes in containers. The procedure might be physically demanding and time-consuming, necessitating the abandonment of other pursuits.

The water table of Gujarat, India, is typically 900 feet below earth, and many villages have no access to water at all. Gujarati women frequently trek 16 to 20 kilometers every day to find water. Every day, the three- to four-hour back-and-forth walk takes place.

The numerous hours spent retrieving water deprives some women of the opportunity to pursue educational, income-generating, or other useful endeavors. Those endeavors may aid them in breaking free from the poverty cycle that exists in many places where individual water transportation is the norm.

In many water management schemes, the dominating role of females in this distribution system reveals an imbalance. Women are often the ones who know their community’s water requirements, supply locations, storage methods, variable issues, and other critical information at the local level. However, because many of these communities’ women are politically sidelined, water supply regulations may be controlled without input from people who know them best.

Fortunately, women are increasingly playing a role in water and environmental policymaking. The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Gujarat, which has 500,000 members, is aiming to supply life-giving water to dry areas and relieve the burden on the women who now transport it.

Watershed management schemes and rainfall collection infrastructure, including rainwater harvesting and underground storage tanks, are crucial to SEWA programs that conserve what little water is available. They also push for improved water distribution methods, such as vehicle supply and, where practicable, larger piped distribution systems.

Visit our distribution section to learn more about water distribution.