Mankorba wears glasses that she obtained
through The Self Employed Women's Association and a red print sari that
she purchased with income from her embroidery. Having completed the second
grade, she is the only woman in the village who has attended school.
|"But recently the Sodha women decided
to come out of their houses. In doing this they were afraid of the beatings
they might get from their husbands, which is a problem, but actually, what
they really couldn't bear was the disapproval of society. The people in
their community might talk. Others might ostracize, harass, or do violence
against them and their families. Women are afraid of those things, always
afraid, but they are coming out. Now, women convene meetings in the open
air. Now they dare to talk with strangers."
We ask SEWA Vice President Lalita Krishnaswami in what ways SEWA women have been affected by greater financial independence. "After a while, very gradually, the women start feeling confident. They get a little respect from their family. The children begin to view their mothers differently. Domestic violence can be reduced. Everywhere, economic stability is the major factor that lowers birth rates: if extreme poverty is alleviated, families do not need so many children to earn money. Each change creates new possibilities for change."
© Paola Gianturco and Toby Tuttle 2003-2009