Syndicate content

#pressforprogress

Enabling digital financial inclusion for rural women: emerging findings from India

Shobha Shetty's picture
"Pehle to bank jaane se bhi dar lagta tha, aur ab hum bank wali didi ban gaye hain’’ (Earlier I used to be afraid of stepping into a bank branch but now I am called a bank representative!). These are the words of Nidhi Kumari, aged 24 who hails from a Baheri Village in Darbhanga district of Bihar. You cannot help but notice the pride and new-found self-confidence behind her wide smile.

Nidhi is one of over 1500 Banking Correspondent Agents (BCAs) under the World Bank’s (IDA $500M) National Rural Livelihood Project (NRLP) in India that supports the Government’s National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) in 13 high poverty states.
 
 Jeevika.
Nidhi Kumari at her BC Kiosk serving customers in her village. Photo courtesy: Jeevika.

Agent-based branchless banking in India is not new and has been around for over a decade. Given that there are over 650,000 villages in India and that less than 10 percent of villages have bank branches[i], an ICT-enabled alternate channel is now a dire necessity to enable greater financial inclusion. This agenda got a further boost when the Government of India launched the  Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) in 2014 to boost financial inclusion. To date, over 310 million PMJDY bank accounts (basic savings bank accounts) have been opened with 53 percent of these accounts now being held by women.

இலங்கை மகளிர் முன்வர தயங்க வேண்டுமா?

Seshika Fernando's picture
Also available in: English | සිංහල
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work
இலங்கையில் பெண்கள்  அவர்கள் பணியிடங்களில் துன்புறுத்தல்களை எதிர்கொள்வது வழமையான விடயமாக காணப்படுகின்றது.

நான் பணிபுரியும் நிறுவனத்தில் பணியில் அக்கறையற்ற நபர்களிற்கு  இடமில்லை என்ற கடுமையானகொள்கையை பின்பற்றுகின்றோம் .தங்கள் சக பணியாளர்களை வம்பிற்கு இழுக்கும் கேலி செய்யும் நபர்களிற்கு இடமில்லை என்பதே இதன் அர்த்தம்.எங்கள் பணியாளர்கள் ஏனையவர்களின் தனிப்பட்ட விடயங்களிற்குள் தலையிடுவதில்லை. அழைப்பில்லாத தனிப்பட்ட தொடர்புகளை ஏற்படுத்துவதில்லை.இலங்கையில் பெண்கள்  அவர்கள் பணியிடங்களில் துன்புறுத்தல்களை எதிர்கொள்வது வழமையான விடயமாக காணப்படுகின்றது.ஆனால் இது போன்ற கொள்கைகள் ஒரு பாலினத்திற்கு மாத்திரம் சார்பாக காணப்படுவது இல்லை.ஆண்கள் இதன் நன்மையை அனுபவிக்கின்றனர்.

துரதிஸ்டவசமாக எனது நிறுவனத்தின் கொள்கை என்பது விதிமுறை என்பதை விட தனித்துவமானது.சமீபத்தில் பெண் பொறியியலாளர்களை சந்தித்து அவர்களின் அனுபவங்களை கேட்பதற்கான வாய்ப்பு கிடைத்தது.ஒருவர் களப்பணிகளிற்கு செல்வது எவ்வளவு கடினமானதாக காணப்படுகின்றது என தெரிவித்தார். தனது ஆண் சக தொழிலாளர்கள் தன்னை மதிக்க விரும்பாததாலும் தனது வழிகாட்டுதல்களை செவிமடுக்க விரும்பாததாலுமே இந்த நிலை காணப்படுவதாக அவர் தெரிவித்தார். ஏனைய பெண்களிற்கு பதவி உயர்வு மறுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது, 
 

Sheshika Fernando addressing the gathering at an international conference
நான் சர்வதேச தொழில்நுட்ப மாநாடுகளில் அடிக்கடி எனது நிறுவனத்தை பிரதிநிதித்துவம் செய்கின்றேன்.

 

அவர்களுக்கு அவர்களது ஆண்சகாக்களை விட குறைவாகவே ஊதியம் வழங்குகின்றனர் அவர்கள் பாலியல்ரீதியிலான துன்புறுத்தல்களை எதிர்கொள்ளவேண்டியுள்ளது.

ශ්‍ර‍ී ලාංකික කාන්තාව තවදුරටත් පසුපස අසුන් ගත යුතුද?

Seshika Fernando's picture
Also available in: English | தமிழ்
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work
ශ්‍ර‍ී ලංකාවේ කාන්තාවන් නිරතුරුව රැකියා ස්ථානවලදී හිංසනයන්ට ගොදුරු වන අතර සමහර කාන්තාවන් උසස්වීම් අහිමි ව ගොස්, සිය පුරුෂ වෘත්තීය සගයින්ට වඩා අඩු වේතන ලැබී, ලිංගික හිංසනයන්ට ද ලක්ව තිබිණ.

මා සේවය කරන සමාගමෙහි දැඩි "අවහිර නොකිරීමේ" ප්‍රතිපත්තියක් පවතී. ඉන් අදහස් වන්නේ, තමන්ගේ සහෝදර සේවක-සේවිකාවන්ට හිරිහැර කිරීමට හෝ සමච්චල් කිරීමට කිසිවකුට ඉඩක් නොමැති බවයි. අපගේ සේවකයින් එකිනෙකාගේ පෞද්ගලික අවකාශයන් ආක්‍රමණය නොකරන අතර අනාරාධිත පෞද්ගලික සම්බන්ධතා ඇති කරගැනීමට උත්සුක නොවේ. ශ්‍ර‍ී ලංකාවේ කාන්තාවන් නිරතුරුව රැකියා ස්ථානවලදී ලිංගික හිංසනයන්ට ගොදුරු වන නමුත් මෙවැනි ප්‍රතිපත්ති අනුග්‍රහය දක්වන්නේ එක් පාර්ශවයකට පමණක් නොවේ. පුරුෂ පාර්ශවයද මෙහි ප්‍ර‍තිලාභ භුක්ති විඳිති.

අවාසනාවකට මෙන්, මගේ සමාගමේ ප්‍රතිපත්තිය නීතියක් නොව ව්‍යතිරේකයකි. මෑතකදී මට මෙරට කාන්තා ඉංජිනේරුවන් හමුවී ඔවුන්ගේ අත්දැකීම් විමසන්නට අවස්ථාවක් ලැබුණි. එක් තැනැත්තියක් මට කීවේ ඇයගේ රැකියාව කෙතරම් අභියෝගයට ලක් වන්නේ ද යන්න ය. ඇයගේ පුරුෂ වෘත්තීය සගයින් ඇයට ගරු කරන්නට හෝ ඇයගේ මග පෙන්වීම් පිළිගන්නට කැමැත්ත පළ කොට තිබුණේ නැත. අනෙකුත් කාන්තාවන් උසස්වීම් අහිමි ව ගොස්, සිය පුරුෂ වෘත්තීය සගයින්ට වඩා අඩු වේතන ලැබී, ලිංගික හිංසනයන්ට ද ලක්ව තිබිණ.
 

Sheshika Fernando addressing the gathering at an international conference
මම නිතරම ජාත්‍යන්තර තාක්ෂණික සමුළුවලදී මගේ සමාගම නියෝජනය කරන්නෙමි. සෑම විටම පාහේ ප්‍රේක්ෂාගාරය පිරී පවතින්නේ පුරුෂයින්ගෙනි. නමුත් මම මගේ කතාව ඉදිරිපත් කරන විට, එය ස්ත්‍රී කේන්ද්‍රීය වේදිකාවකි.

Mainstream Bollywood movie influencing age-old taboos about menstrual health in India

Kanchan Parmar's picture
Over this long Holi weekend, I finally caught up with Padman - the Bollywood movie that tells the inspiring, real life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham – a school drop-out and social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu who invented a low cost, sanitary pad making machine, and distributed pads to under-privileged women across India.
 
Arunachalam Muruganantham at TED@Bangalore
Arunachalam Muruganantham at [email protected]. Photos courtesy [email protected]

Muruganantham’s lifelong mission to create awareness about unhygienic practices and taboos around menstrual health, especially among rural Indian women, has now been recognised globally.
 
I could never have imagined a macho Hindi film ‘Hero’ testing and trying out sanitary pads to make his wife’s life easier!
 
Menstrual health and hygiene are huge gender and public health issues in India. More than half of India’s women between 15 and 24 years of age lack access to hygienic protection measures during menstruation (National Family Health Survey 2015-16).

Do Sri Lankan women need to take the backseat?

Seshika Fernando's picture
Also available in: සිංහල | தமிழ்
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work
Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Some have been denied promotions, been paid less than their male peers, and sexually harassed at work

We have a strict ‘no jerks’ policy at the company where I work. It means we just don’t have room for people who bully or mock their co-workers. Our employees don’t invade each other’s personal space or make uninvited personal contact. Women in Sri Lanka routinely experience sexual harassment in the workplace, but policies like this don’t favor just one gender. Men enjoy the benefits as well.
 
Unfortunately, my company’s policy is an exception rather than the rule. Recently, I had a chance to meet Sri Lankan women engineers and hear their experiences. One told me about how challenging going to the field was because her male subordinates refused to respect her or follow her directions. Other women have been denied promotions, paid less than their male peers and sexually harassed at work.
 

Sheshika Fernando addressing the gathering at an international conference
Seshika Fernando represents her company at a lot of international technology conferences. Almost always the audience is filled with men. But when she's delivering her talk, it’s a woman taking center stage.

Sometimes it’s more subtle than that. In every company I have ever worked for, women are in the minority. They may not have the same interests as their male colleagues or be able to socialize. Not everyone is comfortable conversing in the male lingo, just to fit in. When work is discussed in such social settings, women can very easily miss out. Each time something like this happens, it’s a loss for the company and for the country.