SEWA Reception Centre
Opp Lokmanya Tilak Baug
Ahmedabad 380001, Gujarat
Interest in Forestry: peripheral
SEWA is a trade union registered in 1972. It is an organisation of poor, self-employed women workers. These are women who earn a living through their own labour or small businesses. They do not obtain regular salaried employment with welfare benefits like workers in the organised sector. They are the unprotected labour force of our country. Constituting 93% of the labour force, these are workers of the unorganised sector. Of the female labour force in India, more than 94% are in the unorganised sector. However their work is not counted and hence remains invisible. In fact, women workers themselves remain uncounted, undercounted and invisible.
SEWA’s main goals are to organise women workers for full employment. Full employment means employment whereby workers obtain work security, income security, food security and social security (at least health care, child care and shelter). SEWA organises women to ensure that every family obtains full employment. By self-reliance we mean that women should be autonomous and self-reliant, individually and collectively, both economically and in terms of their decision-making ability.
They have several campaigns one of which is a forest worker’s campaign described as follows:
Thousands of women in our country are involved in minor forest produce collection. This is their only livelihood. They care for the forests as if it were their own as the forests give them sustenance. In addition, many women are involved in greening our parched land through raising nurseries, saplings and plantations. It is also an important source of employment for village women, who sell both the saplings they raise and the produce from their nurseries. And yet, women have not received the support and technical guidance they need for this ecoregeneration – cum – employment creation. They are the first to be affected by drought and increasing environmental degradation. On the other hand, the forest department raises its own nurseries with government support, often undercutting local people’s especially women’s own efforts. Hence our members have launched their campaign to " Feminise Our Forests".