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Home>>Programmes>>Women Empowerment  
Amidst high literacy level, women in Kerala face a number of problems. While women enjoy very little freedom, the dowry system is very common in the state. It is a common incident in Kerala that families getting impoverished after a girl child getting married. The 2001 census reports shockingly reveals that the number girl child between the age 0-6 per 1000 boys have alarmingly comedown in the state which was has maintained a higher sex ratio in the country for many years. While the sex ratio of women and men 1058 for 1000 men, the ratio of girl child of age 0-6 is only 963.

The Wayanad district compared to other parts of the state has been showing a low sex ratio since it is formed. Due to the crisis in farm sector after reforms and globalization, thousands of farmers committed suicide leaving behind the entire responsibility of nurturing the family on women. Between 2000 and 2005, 1967 men committed suicide in Wayanad district alone. It is very clear that education and literacy alone cannot improve women situation, but only the collective action will challenge the social systems as well as policies that discriminate women in all spheres.

RASTA since inception focus on women’s development through a number of programmes aiming at empowerment and collective action.

The Self Help Groups

RASTA introduced the concept of women self-help groups in the district in 1991 itself with an understanding that financial autonomy is an important aspects in women empowerment process. Since then it has formed and nurtures 1300 women’s self help groups in two districts covering 14000 poor families. Collectively they mobilized xxx Million INR and they revolved this amount for various purposes including construction of houses. The group members were trained on plan, implement and monitor watershed based activities, income generation programmes, campaign and community voluntary action etc. pertaining to the issues faced by them.

Women self help groups are actively involved in the decentralized governance process in Panchayathiraj institutions. The majority of members attending Gramasabhas are women. women personal issues, problems are discussed in the weekly meetings held at each others house. This gives a forum for reflecting on the women rights issues, legal issues etc.

Since 2001,the international year of women Empowerment, all the members of the Self Help Groups are coming together on 8th March to conduct a rally and public meeting to make their presence as a collective force in public. Not less than 8000 women participate every year in this event.

In 2005, The women groups collectively formed a new women’s organization called SNEHITHA, which exclusively focus on advocacy and lobbying for women friendly policies at local self government level and at state level and acting on various local issues

Income Generation Programmes
RASTA conducts a number of income generation programme for women. As part of this we train them on a particular trade and give economical and technical support for production, processing and marketing. The trades include Mushroom cultivation, Goat rearing, cattle rearing, Tailoring and Fashion designing, Handicraft making and cultivation of crops like Banana, Rice, Yams on commercial basis