New Delhi – Rural women are increasingly overcoming traditional barriers and are participating in water provisioning through social enterprises.
This fact has been revealed in a report Small Water Enterprises: Transforming Women from Water Carriers to Water Entrepreneurs 2019 released at World Water Week organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in Stockholm.
The report details how Safe Water Network has helped mainstream women switch to entrepreneurial and operational roles to own and manage small water enterprises (SWEs).
SWEs are locally owned and operated water treatment plants that expand access to safe, affordable water for communities of 3,000-5,000 people.
Women are grossly underrepresented in the Indian economy, says the report. They comprise only 26% of the total workforce and contribute merely 17% of India’s GDP as compared to the global average of 37%.
Further, rural women are responsible for collecting 80% of the water consumed by households that do not have access to safe drinking water on their premises.
The report highlights the success of Safe Water Network India’s iJal Women’s Empowerment Program that was piloted in Medak district in Telangana with participation from lawmakers, district administration and local government.
The project has empowered over 170 women entrepreneurs and provided 150,000 people with affordable access to safe drinking water.
With the support of Honeywell, the program will eventually provide safe water access to over 540,000 people in Telangana and Maharashtra, a statement said.