The Need for Going Digital

The gains of technological innovations most often reach poor, informal women workers last. The SEWA Movement has seen this inequity playout for the last 40 years. The power of digital technology in enabling grassroots women to come out of poverty has not been a consistent area of focus. As a result, SEWA works to bridge this gap by identifying the challenges of the base of the pyramid and innovating with them at the forefront.

Further, shifts in government policy like the drive towards digital finance, made imperative by shock policies like demonetization, made it even more important for quick and large-scale efforts towards literacy and access to assist women to enter the digital economy. The COVID-19 pandemic further necessitated digital adoption to enable people to get relief, health access, and survival income, in a world where physical mobility suddenly came to a staggering halt.

Both of these economic shocks revealed the divide in access to digital technology between men and women; only 24% of women use smartphones compared to 41% of men. Like with all other sections of society, digital technology also affects the lives and livelihoods of informal women workers. SEWA Bharat’s goal is to leverage the opportunities it presents and to advocate to make the digital world a more inclusive and equal space.

Women skilled to access digital platforms
Online training sessions
Women linked to e-marketplace

Our Approach

Equalising the Gains of Digital Technology: Access to Assets and Literacy

Digital Technology to Further Financial Inclusion

The adoption of digital assets is helping women access better credit, social security instruments, and alternative methods of financing.
Simplified access to formal credit
Digital payments and transactions
Alternative financing – crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending
An understanding of the risks related to digital finance

Digital Technology to Boost Livelihoods

The availability of technology has broadened the market in which our members work, opening work opportunities that didn’t exist before.
Unlocking new job roles such as digital data collection and photography
Connecting microentrepreneurs and collective enterprises with online marketplaces that allow better price realization and supports moving up the value chain
Linking women service providers to consumers through digital platforms by exploring non-traditional work such as homestays, public transport, and gig work
Skilling for using digital technology such as smartphones and computers to access a wider range of opportunities

Amplifying the Voices of Grassroots Women

Increased access to digital technology has increased the possibilities of organizing and communication.
Our women now routinely speak at webinars and consultations
Access to a wider audience for advocacy, awareness, and local mobilization
Exploring better delivery of social security services through digital interventions

Digitising the Work of Grassroots Enterprises

Women-run grassroots social enterprises have been instrumental in driving agency and equity. Access to digital technology has been changing the way in which these enterprises function.
Usage of email and cloud storage
Software literacy and access
Digital payments for easy transacting
Instant Messaging for coordination, reporting and monitoring of work

Digital as an Essential Response Mechanism

When communication snapped at the time of the outbreak in early 2020, digital technology emerged as an essential means of keeping in touch, raising awareness, and in securing essential items amongst communities.
Role of digital in pandemic awareness
Digital for securing livelihoods: Online selling
Quicker response in emergency situations
Direct connection to the lives/stories of people

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