GS Paper 2/3
Syllabus: S&T/Government Programmes/Role of Women and Women’s Organization
Context: Women from rural India are adopting clean energy-based livelihood technologies (from solar refrigerators to silk-reeling machines) to catalyse their businesses and transform women’s livelihoods at the grassroots.
Highlights of a study (by CEEW):
- Out of the 13,000 early adopters of clean tech livelihood appliances, more than 80% are women.
- Distributed renewable energy (DRE)-powered technologies provide an additional advantage to women farmers by enhancing income opportunities through mechanisation.
- They also free women from several gender-assigned manual activities that are laborious.
- By 2030, India is expected to see 30 million women-owned MSMEs employing around 150 million people.
Challenges in scaling up these accomplishments:
- Novelty and a high starting price of these technologies
- Perceived as high-risk purchases, especially by women users
- The relatively lower risk appetite of rural women due to socioeconomic reasons
- Limited avenues to avail financing
- Lack of established market linkages
- Limited mobility/networks of women outside their villages
Way ahead – How to scale up this impact?
- Leverage the experience of early women adopters.
- Organise hyperlocal events and demos – create spaces for women to network, and become aware.
- Enable easy finance to purchase products. Financiers should consider the technologies themselves as collateral while easing the loan application process.
- Ensure adequate after-sales services and buy-backs.
- Support backwards and forward market linkage – finding and connecting producers to consumption hubs in urban areas.
- Collectivising women or establishing business models that enable them to sell to an intermediary can ensure a regular revenue stream.
- Enable policy convergence. Efforts towards promoting livelihoods for women from State rural livelihood missions, agriculture departments, etc., must be converged.
- Leveraging the reach of government institutions is imperative.
Conclusion: Similar to how it takes a village to raise a child, a village of politicians, investors, financiers, and technology promoters, is required to fully realise the potential of rural women and clean technologies.
Examine the role of the ‘Gig Economy’ in the process of empowerment of women in India. (UPSC 2021)