charcha 2020

charcha 2020

Sattva hosted the Financial Inclusion track at “charcha 2020” – a platform for the Indian development sector to come together and chart a course for the country’s resurgence from the COVID-19 crisis, launched by The/Nudge Foundation. The platform brought together practitioners, thinkers, enablers, community leaders, policy makers to take on the challenges ahead with conviction and clarity.

As part of our Financial Inclusion track we had a range of sessions. Key insights and takeaways from these sessions can be accessed below.

14 May 2020:

Click here for the video link for Day 1

15 May 2020:

Click here for the video link for Day 2

16 May 2020:

Click here for the video link for Day 3

About charcha 2020:
The whole world is in lockdown now, grappling with the full impact of Covid-19. According to some estimates, 200 million people will be pushed into poverty in India this year, and the development sector will undergo an unprecedented resource crunch. There is an urgent need for the sector to come together and strategize in a timely manner on charting an agile course at a time when the country needs us the most.

The leading nonprofits, foundations and industry experts came together for charcha 2020 – bringing together practitioners, thinkers, enablers, community leaders and policymakers across 14 parallel events to take on the challenges ahead with conviction and clarity.

More here: charcha 2020 – Sattva and Financial Inclusion

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Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Do write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Gender Equality in India – Women and Digital Solutions

Gender Equality in India – Women and Digital Solutions

– By Angad Bagai, Priyanka Cardoz and Atul Sukumar

Women in India are very often concentrated in certain specific types of industries- about 30% of women-owned enterprises are involved in the manufacturing sector and 18% are involved in retail trade. Looking at the services sector, 24% of women owned enterprises are personal/household service enterprises, 16% are in the education sector and 14% are food service enterprises like restaurants. As discussed in our previous post, there are a variety of barriers faced by these women, and there are multiple approaches that have been used to promote and address these, ranging from programmes driving financial inclusion to the provision of skilling initiatives.

Of the plethora of approaches, the advent of digital technology is one that has brought a range of solution models to the table for creating new, scalable pathways to potentially solve for some of these issues, and generate economic opportunity for women. Internationally, models such as Taobao (Alibaba) and Grab have shown results in linking women to improved livelihood opportunities and markets, while in India, nascent platforms such as Amazon Saheli and GoCoop are looking to do the same and show high potential for market linkages. This piece will look to nuance the understanding of the true potential of digital solutions for women, and how they could be advanced further in India.

You can read the full blog, here.

This is the second in a series we are doing on Gender Equality in India. In this series we intend to look more closely at some specific approaches adopted by stakeholders in the ecosystem to solve these challenges. The first three pieces will focus on promising approaches to how the private sector and corporate interest can engage with the barriers, and the final piece will look at the government and its role in building an enabling environment through policy.

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Priyanka Cardoz is part of our Research Advisory team and is based in our Delhi office. Prior to working with Sattva, she worked as a Consultant for the Evaluation Office, at International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). Priyanka holds a MDes (Social Design) from Ambedkar University and BA (Philosophy) from St Stephens College, New Delhi.

Angad Bagai is part of our Research Advisory team and is based in our Delhi office. Before Sattva, Angad worked with Cankids…Kidscan, and had a stint as a short-term consultant at the World Bank. Angad has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and English Literature from Tufts University and a Master of Laws from the University of Law in London.

Both Priyanka and Angad have been involved with the BMGF Gender engagement since it started, working to establish a Gender Secretariat for strategic research, advisory and knowledge management support for Gates Foundation.

Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this topic. Do write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Gender Equality in India – Looking Back to Move Forward

Gender Equality in India – Looking Back to Move Forward

– By Priyanka Cardoz & Angad Bagai

Expanding opportunities to women and moving towards gender equality remains integral to the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, and to the progress of India as a whole. This is not a purely economic imperative, World Economic Forum research suggests a positive correlation between gender equality and a country’s level of competitiveness, its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, and even its rank in the Human Development Index. However, women in India today face a variety of significant challenges from both a social and economic lens.

These include inadequate access to inputs and services, including crucial services like healthcare and education, facing normative constraints and socio-cultural barriers which prevent women from not being able to make decisions, and result in mobility and safety constraints, a lack of access to finance, and an inadequate market linkages. A multitude of stakeholders have looked to address these challenges over the last decade, with the government utilising schemes and policy as a lever, and private sector players implementing interventions through CSR and looking to integrate women with the corporate value chain.

A look back reveals that although a variety of programmes have advanced outcomes for women across a range of domains, there is still a need for concerted effort to break the shackle of persistent gender inequities and design targeted solutions which can provide equal opportunities to women. Despite this, it is important to recognise that over the past few years, existing initiatives have been strengthened and innovative interventions have been developed to address these persistent barriers that limit opportunities for women.

You can read the full blog, here.

This is the first in a series we are doing on Gender Equality in India. In our next few pieces, we intend to look more closely at some specific approaches adopted by stakeholders in the ecosystem to solve these challenges. The first three pieces will focus on promising approaches to how the private sector and corporate interest can engage with the barriers, and the final piece will look at the government and its role in building an enabling environment through policy.

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Primary authorship: Priyanka Cardoz & Angad Bagai
Inputs from: Atul Sukumar & Shambhavi Srivastava
Data inputs from: Sansiddha Pani

Priyanka Cardoz is part of our Research Advisory team and is based in our Delhi office. Prior to working with Sattva, she worked as a Consultant for the Evaluation Office, at International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). Priyanka holds a MDes (Social Design) from Ambedkar University and BA (Philosophy) from St Stephens College, New Delhi.

Angad Bagai is part of our Research Advisory team and is based in our Delhi office. Before Sattva, Angad worked with Cankids…Kidscan, and had a stint as a short-term consultant at the World Bank. Angad has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and English Literature from Tufts University and a Master of Laws from the University of Law in London.

Both Priyanka and Angad have been involved with the BMGF Gender engagement since it started, working to establish a Gender Secretariat for strategic research, advisory and knowledge management support for Gates Foundation.

Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this topic. Do write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

A three-pronged approach can enable positive breastfeeding outcomes

Optimal Breastfeeding can boost maternal and child health worldwide

According to WHO & UNICEF, over 820,000 lives can be saved annually through optimal breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can significantly improve the health of children and mothers resulting in economic benefits equivalent to USD 300 billion worldwide annually.

The optimal breastfeeding practice recommended by WHO is to initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusively breastfeed (EBF) for the first six months, followed by breastfeeding and complementary feeding for a minimum of two years thereafter.

India has not scaled its breastfeeding rates as desired
Research has shown breastfeeding rates have not scaled as desired in India (NFHS 4). While institutional deliveries have increased from 40% in 2005-6 to 78% in 2015-16, breastfeeding initiation in the first hour is still low at 48.5%, with EBF rates for the first six months at 55%. These numbers point to a missed opportunity to enable breastfeeding at birth and sustain those practices effectively thereafter.

In public hospitals, the front-line workers (FLWs), doctors and nurses are expected to provide information and support on breastfeeding. However, inadequate staffing, low awareness and incentivisation for other activities over breastfeeding play a role in why this is not prioritised. In the private sector, where regulation is limited, there is low awareness and limited incentives for doctors and nurses, who are the key caregivers to mothers. Many caregivers encourage mothers struggling with breastfeeding to lean towards formula food.

Why are breastfeeding rates low?
Considering breastfeeding is a natural process, we assume that it comes naturally to every mother. However, issues range from incorrect latching, doubts on milk sufficiency, lip and tongue ties, delayed onset of milk (which require individual counseling) to mastitis and breast abscess (which require medical intervention and sometimes, surgery). Predominantly, lack of timely awareness and sustained support mean that mothers are ill-equipped to address such issues and this can ultimately, lower their confidence to breastfeed.

A three-pronged approach is required to address these barriers:
1. Awareness generation to ensure that families have the right information
• Counselling should start early (during pregnancy) and be extended to the family, especially the primary support system (spouse, mother, siblings, mother-in-law) to ensure a supportive and encouraging environment.
• Ensure adequate and frequent training to all who impart breastfeeding counselling (including frontline workers, doctors and nurses). Training should also be a part of the curriculum for medical and nursing students.

2. Skilled counselling to overcome barriers and enable appropriate behaviour
• Invest in dedicated skilled lactation counsellors for breastfeeding counselling at a public district hospital level. A cost-benefit analysis (EPW ) has shown that it will strengthen the government’s agenda on breastfeeding and promote best practices.
• Invest in sustainable models of skilled counselling in private facilities that focuses on demand creation along with ensuring a pool of trained counsellors.
• Boost private and public partnerships to address availability and quality of care by filling gaps in the public sector through appropriate incentivisation

3. Peer support groups to sustain the behaviour for the desired period
There is strong evidence to show how support groups improve breastfeeding rates. It is important that such groups work with families, as they play a significant role in busting myths and stigmas and stopping mothers from abandoning breastfeeding. . We need to:
• Institutionalise and sustain peer and mother support groups in the public sector by working closely with frontline workers and communities
• Strengthen and replicate successful existing peer networks and use them to accelerate breastfeeding outcomes in the private sector through enabling the right partnerships

It is critical these strategies all work in tandem to achieve favourable outcomes.

Finally, it is the choice of the mother
In India, we see a gap between intent and implementation. Strengthening policy, enabling working parents, increased funding and rigorous monitoring are critical enablers in reducing these gaps. In addition, catalysing the private sector to focus on innovation and demand-led models to increase breastfeeding rates are important, especially as the private sector starts to play a larger role in healthcare.

The choice to breastfeed lies with the mother. What the ecosystem should ensure is that her choice is backed by the right information and the necessary emotional and medical support throughout her breastfeeding journey.

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An edited version of this article was published in BW Wellbeing World to mark World Breastfeeding Week.

Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Breaking Breastfeeding Barriers for Working Women

Breaking Breastfeeding Barriers for Working Women

India needs stronger legislation, better maternity policies and quality childcare, to enable women employees in the formal and informal sectors to achieve positive breastfeeding outcomes

India has set a target for an exclusive breastfeeding rate of 69 percent by 2025. A big part of this puzzle will be to enable working women to breastfeed.

Overall, India ranks 78 in the World Breastfeeding Trends initiative (WBTi), of 97 countries that participated. Only 48 percent of children initiate breastfeeding within the hour and only 55 percent follow exclusive breastfeeding for six months.

The target can be met only if we address barriers that working women face through legislation. Essentially, this means creating mother-baby proximity for the first six months to allow for exclusive breastfeeding without wage loss and facilities to pump, store and feed expressed milk once work is resumed by the mother.

Sattva_Insights_Lakshmi-BFWeek

While there are some big wins for women in the formal workforce, the legislation can be further strengthened.

In India, the revised maternity bill accounts for six months of paid maternity leave for up to two children. However, the burden of wage payment during this time lies solely with the employer; experts say that this could be counterproductive and discourage organisations from employing women. In 2017-18 alone, about 11-18 lakh jobs were lost because of this. In addition, enforcement of legislation for contract workers need to be strengthened.

Here’s how the legislation can be strengthened:

– Provide incentives to employers such as underwriting part of the wage payment, tax breaks, or even introduce employee taxes to encourage employers to continue to hire more women • Create appropriate paternity leave provisions to ensure spouse support that is especially critical in establishing breastfeeding

– Sharpen guidelines on workplace enablement to include providing appropriate pumping equipment and having a designated pumping spaces in addition to providing nursing breaks

Workplaces need to sensitise all employees such that they can encourage breastfeeding mothers. They must also create mechanisms for mothers to seek out the right information and support through connecting peer groups and breastfeeding support organisations.

Large corporate governance must ensure that this applies to workers across across their value chain, including contract workers across SMEs and MSMEs .

The maternity act does not apply to the informal sector, which is estimated to be over 80 percent of the women workforce. Informal workers are also forced to return to work early because of poor economic conditions. A recent study on childcare practices of mothers working in the informal sector by Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) showed how close to 50 percent of the women surveyed returned to work within three months of birth, and only 21 percent of the total women continued to exclusively breastfeed.

Informal workers require convergence across maternity schemes and better childcare facilities to enable positive breastfeeding outcomes.

A critical need for informal women workers is wage protection. Today, schemes that support maternity benefits for informal workers at both a central and state level are inadequate:

– Informal workers are entitled to only Rs 5,000 as a fixed benefit from the government for their first child under the scheme PMMVY (Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojna).
– There are also some state schemes (such as in Tamil Nadu and Odisha) that provide financial incentives that are higher; however, they are few and far in between.
– Nowhere are these financial benefits linked to wages.

Secondly, implementation is weak: only about 3.2 million women have benefited under PMMVY till August 2018, in spite of over 25 million births in that time as found by an RTI request.

Thirdly, as women in the informal sector are forced to return to work—in many cases before six months—there is a need for effective childcare. Childcare legislation in India is very limited. Recently, the funding from the central government on the National Creche Scheme has been drastically reduced, in a blow for informal workers.

Going forward

There needs to be a strong focus in bringing convergence around maternity schemes for informal workers addressing key current gaps, such as linking financial benefits to wages and allowing for the fluidity of informal work (no fixed employer, multiple job changes, etc) and ensuring that the schemes complement each other. This also means ensuring adequate childcare through the public health system for women from whenever they resume work (even earlier than six months).

For example, anganwadis can be equipped with breast pumps and storage facilities to help mothers express and store breast milk. Finally, Self Help Groups (SHGs), which have successfully organised several million informal workers, should be enabled as vehicles to create solutions and engage and lobby with the government to ensure adequate legislation—a wonderful example is the SEWA Sangini programme that has created a sustainable model of childcare for informal workers and had big wins through engaging and working with the government.

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This article was originally published in Forbes to mark World Breastfeeding Week.

Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

5 insights on the potential of e-commerce in growing women entrepreneurship

5 insights on the potential of e-commerce in growing women entrepreneurship

A lack of access, skills and business acumen often prevent women and women-owned enterprises from being able to participate in markets or scale their economic participation. The numbers reflect this—46% of women-owned enterprises in India classify their business as stagnant, and only 20% earn more than INR 5000 (~US$71) a month (compared to 73% of men-owned enterprises). Addressing this disparity is essential to improving economic empowerment outcomes for women, and stakeholders across sectors, be it government, private sector or civil society, have a vested interest in solving for the barriers to women entrepreneurship.

Sattva_Insights_ecommerce women entrepreneurship

A recent solution that has shown promise in improving the type of work and market opportunities available to women is the advent of e-commerce. Internationally, models such as Taobao (Alibaba) and Grab have shown results in linking women to livelihoods and markets, and in India, nascent platforms such as Amazon Saheli and GoCoop are looking to do the same. Aside from market linkages, these platforms often provide a basket of different enablers in order to allow these small entrepreneurs to participate in online value chains, such as access to digital finance, support with logistical services, and flexible work opportunities.

The Potential: What can e-commerce bring to the table?

E-commerce platforms have the potential to improve gender outcomes

These platforms can potentially increase the revenue share available for women producers by eliminating middlemen and reducing barriers to entry. They can use the data generated on consumer preferences to enable better production choices as well as help women achieve visibility and discoverability for their businesses. For example, the Saheli storefront on the Amazon India website directs traffic to products from their partner women-owned enterprises to provide greater visibility. Finally, they can make the process of procurement and purchasing gender blind, thus addressing any normative barriers associated with women participating in traditional value chains.

However, digital platforms are not a silver bullet solution

They may provide market linkages and end to end support, but they cannot guarantee demand for products, or insulate enterprises from global competition. They are also often not able to directly provide credit, inputs or physical infrastructure, but multiple models provide tie-ups and support addressing these issues.

While competition is a major concern, models based around service provision are better suited to mainstreaming through digital platforms

E-commerce platforms can create market linkages for niche products (such as handicrafts), but small enterprises producing in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market with mainstream players will often have issues competing on price, quality etc. On the other hand, enterprises based on service provision are more insulated from global competition as service provision is limited to local geographies, while manufacturing products can be easily replicated in other markets where production and prices may be cheaper, crowding smaller players out.

Is the ecosystem ready?

There is a need for money, skills for business, quality and timely production and quality production services to drive efficiency of enterprises and enable them to compete on a global scale

There is a need for handholding, additional services and solutions such as clustered service centers, common branding across enterprises to create product awareness, and business consulting services to aid first time entrepreneurs survive in mainstream markets. Experiences from companies like Rangsutra and Industree show that in order to achieve the quality and compliance expected on such platforms, technical capacity building and support is often needed, along with some level of guaranteed and predictable revenue for these risk-averse entrepreneurs. Other necessary pre-requisites to work with women entrepreneurs include buy-in from the men in a household, and of course, basic internet access.

The viability and scalability of e-commerce as a route to women’s economic empowerment needs to be further explored by stakeholders across sectors

While the potential exists, and some stakeholders are exploring this as a solution; it is important for further research and discussion to explore which types of digital solutions are most relevant in addressing the barriers plaguing women and women-owned enterprises, how feasible these models are, and their potential for scale in different contexts.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that while these solutions could solve for barriers faced by enterprises, these entrepreneurs may not have the access or ability to engage with digital solutions. Solving for this will require a tri-sector approach, and stakeholders from civil society, government and the private sector must come together at platforms like AVPN and identify a way forward both in terms of potential and for readying the ecosystem to take up these solutions at scale.

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REFERENCES:
[1] Data from the 73rd NSS and 6th EC in India.
[2] Taobao is a Chinese online shopping website, owned by Alibaba.
[3] Grab is a transportation, food delivery and online payment provider founded in Malaysia.
[4] The Saheli store is a dedicated storefront on Amazon India to display women entrepreneurs’ products and facilitate sales.
[5] GoCoop.com is an online marketplace that enables handloom and handicraft co-operatives and artisans in connecting directly with buyers (both consumers and other businesses).
[6] Rangsutra is a craft company in India that produces a variety of textile handicrafts, collectively owned by over 2000 artisans.
[7] Industree works to create ownership based, organised manufacturing ecosystem for artisans and micro-entrepreneurs, and runs 2 producer-owned enterprises that employ over 1400 women.
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This article was originally published by AVPN and can be accessed here.

You can find more Insights from Sattva here.

To talk to us for collaborations or partnerships, you can write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Digital Solutions for Women-Owned Enterprises

Digital Solutions for Women-Owned Enterprises

Background

A decline in rural jobs, the one-sided burden of unpaid care work, along with other structural and underlying issues, such as unequal pay structures, have compounded the decreasing female labour force participation of India—56.1% of working women in India were self-employed as of 2014. There are 8.1 million Indian women-owned enterprises as per the 6th EC, making up 13.7% of enterprises in India. Only 20% of these report their Gross Value Added (GVA) as over INR 5,000 per month compared to 73% of men-owned enterprises.

There are multiple different approaches that have been used to promote and address the variety of barriers faced by women-owned enterprises, ranging from programmes driving financial inclusion to the provision of skilling initiatives. Of the plethora of different approaches to solving for these barriers, e-commerce and digital solutions offer a new and potentially scalable pathway to potentially solve for some of these issues and generate market linkages for these women-owned enterprises. Digital solutions are only just beginning to be explored in India and could provide a scalable means of linking women to markets and job opportunities. The effect size of such interventions (both in India and internationally) could extend beyond market connections and livelihood linkages, to providing layered social empowerment outcomes.

Sattva_Woman-market-india

Sattva organised a roundtable to understand this potential through three lenses — the viability of e-commerce as a solution, the enablers it provided that could solve for specific barriers, and the feasibility of implementing such a solution at scale. ‘Digital Solutions for Women-Owned Enterprises’ takes forward the insights from the roundtable to better understand the potential of e-commerce in growing women entrepreneurship.

Key Findings

1. The high potential of B2B e-commerce
The B2B customer segment of e-commerce offers high potential for women-owned enterprises to access markets and scale as it helps producers procure bulk amounts of raw materials at a lower cost, and have larger order sizes and more predictable revenue.

2. Three B2C sectors with opportunity
Three sectors in B2C e-commerce provide maximum potential for integration of women-owned enterprises. These are:

  • Sale and manufacture of apparel and home furnishing
  • Retail sale of food and beverages
  • Hyperlocal services like hairdressing and beauty services, or repair and alteration of clothing

3. E-commerce enables enterprises in multiple ways
E-commerce platforms can enable enterprises to access larger markets, understand market dynamics and tailor their products/services, get easier access to credit and other inputs, and improve their technical and business skills.

4. There are five key enablers that need to be provided or developed in order to ready women for integration into e-commerce

  • Willingness to participate in e-commerce
  • Functional and technical skills
  • Access to and usage of mobiles and technology
  • Market intelligence and business support
  • Access to working capital and inputs

5. Similarly, there are five enablers required to achieve readiness at an ecosystem level

  • Developing infrastructure in partnership with telecom providers
  • Creating a favourable policy and regulation environment
  • Adding a gender lens for e-commerce platforms
  • Reducing entry barriers on e-commerce platforms
  • Facilitating technological access for women (by developing familial and community support)

The full report can be accessed below.
Digital Solutions for Women-Owned Enterprises – Full Report

Our research shows that even though the e-commerce sector in India is experiencing major growth, the effects of e-commerce growth have been concentrated amongst a few of the larger vertical and horizontal players, with the bottom of the pyramid not yet having any real benefits.

There are a few industries that show high promise for women entrepreneurs to integrate with e-commerce value chains, such as; restaurants/online food delivery, groceries, and the manufacture of textiles and home furnishings. Additionally, the operational models of e-commerce platforms provide a host of enablers that address the constraints faced by women entrepreneurs and women-owned enterprises, building a solid market case for the potential of incorporating women into these value chains. However, in order to truly incorporate women into these value chains, there is a need for mentorship, hand-holding support, financial and digital literacy and technical guidance to be provided. Further, there is also a need for infrastructure to be strengthened, a supportive environment to be developed (by addressing normative and social constraints as well as by enterprises providing support). Favourable government policies towards e-commerce growth, like we’ve seen in other countries such as China, and enabling its decentralized access are also necessary for these women entrepreneurs to thrive in parallel with the rapidly growing e-commerce space.

Would you like to partner with us to further the conversation around the potential of e-commerce in growing women entrepreneurship? Write in to knowledge@sattva.co.in.

Business Case for Gender Mainstreaming in Cotton in Maharashtra

Business Case for Gender Mainstreaming in Cotton in Maharashtra

Background

India is the largest producer and second largest exporter of cotton in the world, providing direct livelihood to 6 million farmers, and indirect livelihood to about 40-50 million people employed in cotton trade and processing.

Women perform a majority of the tasks involved in cotton cultivation, but play a limited part in agricultural decision-making, have low involvement in market-facing roles and little control over profits. Typically, women cultivators don’t have land titles in their name, and are often ignored stakeholders in farm-related interventions. They also have reduced access to agronomic training programs and information, and agriculture extension services provided by the government.

To further understand the potential of women cotton cultivators in driving improved business outcomes and profitability in cotton production, Sattva and IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative conducted a gender analysis of cotton cultivation in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra between September 2018 and January 2019. This included exploring and quantifying the gender division of roles, responsibilities and access to resources, current farm practices, and the labour burden of male and women cultivators in the production process. The study sought to understand current gaps in cotton production and identify opportunities that could enable ecosystem players, cotton value chain actors, businesses, and programme implementers to make well-founded decisions based on a business case for strengthening the involvement of women cultivators.

Key Findings

1. Social norms impact the way women cultivators engage with the agricultural ecosystem

  • Tasks undertaken by women cotton cultivators are perceived to be ‘lighter work’, even though these tasks are highly manual, drudgery-prone and time intensive.
  • Women cultivators spend more farming days (80-90%) on the field compared to men (10-20%) through the cotton production cycle. In addition, women cultivators spend 8 additional hours engaged in household tasks daily. While household responsibilities are unpaid, the economic contribution of women cultivators on their own field also goes unmeasured.
  • Social norms limit mobility and the ability of women cultivators to take on front-facing, ‘high value’ roles. They also limit access to productive resources such as land, extension services, tools and finance, that are relatively easier to access for their male counterparts.
  • Women cultivators were typically paid INR 150 per day and men were paid INR 200-300 per day. Lower levels and reduced control over income limit the level of empowerment women cultivators can achieve.

2. Tasks undertaken by women cultivators directly impact the quantity and quality of cotton produced

3. The time spent by women on the field can be leveraged to implement integrated pest management

  • While engaged in weeding and fertilizer application, women are on the field during the early schedule of pest monitoring (June to September)
  • The time spent by women cultivators on the field can be leveraged to monitor for pests and reduce the incidents of pest attacks


4. Though women undertake majority of the tasks in cotton production, primary decision-making still lies in the hands of male cultivators.

  • Women cultivators were more likely to say that decisions were made by both men and women. Male responses for the decision-making category ‘both’ are consistently 8-10% points lower than women’s responses.
  • Even when decisions were taken together, there could be varying degrees of participation by the women cultivators. The final decision was almost always taken by the male member of the household.


5. Despite their role in cotton production, women cultivators have limited access to resources.

  • 33% of the women cultivators had attended any training in the last two years. Yet, if training was provided to women, there was a 30-40% increase in adoption of best farm practices.
  • 16% of the women cultivators surveyed held land titles in their name.
  • 15% of the women cultivators surveyed had accessed any government schemes, with lack of knowledge cited as the main limiting factor
  • SHGs remain an un-leveraged source of financial support for cotton. While most farmers depended on store credit, only 28% of the women cultivators shared that they get credit for cotton from SHGs.

The study found that solving for the restrictions and challenges faced by women cotton cultivators has the potential to achieve improved business outcomes, including an increase in the quality and quantity of cotton produced, ultimately increasing household incomes. It also results in better social outcomes such as increased participation of women cotton cultivators in decision making.

The full report can be accessed below.
Business Case for Gender Mainstreaming in Cotton in Maharashtra – Full Report

Approach and Framework

The gender analysis framework developed by Sattva helped build an understanding of the gender division of roles and responsibilities on the farm, participation in decision-making, and access to productive resources. The framework also analyzes the underlying gender and socio-cultural norms which could influence the division of roles and access to ecosystem support. The study is the first to build a business case for gender mainstreaming in the agricultural value chain.

Using quantitative and qualitative research methods, the study sought to answer the following questions:

  • What is the role played by women cultivators in the production of cotton and how does it contribute to the quality and quantity of the cotton produced?
  • How can business outcomes in cotton production be strengthened by enhancing the engagement of women cultivators on the farm?
  • How are women’s roles on the farm influenced by underlying gender norms? How can these norms be influenced or changed to improve and enhance women’s outputs and profitability?
  • What is the current ecosystem around women cultivators? How can it be strengthened to influence the contribution of women cultivators in cotton production?

Methodology

methodology

The study included quantitative surveys 515 women cotton cultivators and 164 male cotton cultivators. 19 focus group discussions were held with over 125 respondents across Amravati, Yavatmal, Aurangabad and Parbhani, while qualitative interviews were conducted with 26 relevant stakeholders including NGOs, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), ginners, brands and experts in the field.

Event: Farmer Incomes’ and Gender Mainstreaming in Cotton Cultivation

IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative unveiled the ‘Business Case for Gender Mainstreaming in Cotton in Maharashtra’ with knowledge partners Sattva in Mumbai on May 9. The event featured the launch of two reports ‘Doubling Cotton Farmer Incomes in Maharashtra’ and ‘Business Case for Gender Mainstreaming in Cotton in Maharashtra ’, followed by an interactive session on key findings from the reports.

Would you like to partner with us to further the conversation around gender mainstreaming in the agriculture value chain? Write in to knowledge@sattva.co.in.

Shambhavi Srivastava

Shambhavi leads the Research Advisory vertical at Sattva and brings in 9 years of experience in research and public policy projects in the sectors of rural livelihoods, women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion. Shambhavi brings with her strong expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods using mixed-method approaches, statistical tools and experience with leading outreach and dissemination activities on the field and in the ecosystem. She has served as a Principal Investigator (PI) on numerous gender, public health, financial inclusion and rural livelihood projects.

Prior to Sattva, Shambhavi worked as Research Manager for Institute of Financial Management and Research (IFMR LEAD), India where she served as the PI and programme lead for policy projects in the Financial Inclusion vertical on multi-stakeholder projects in collaboration with partners such as DFID, Access Assist, SIDBI, Ministry of Finance and the University of Munich.

Shambhavi holds a Master of Arts degree in Cultural and Social Geography from the University of British Columbia, Canada, a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations and Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India and a Bachelors in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, India.

Bobbymon George

Bobbymon is part of the leadership team and heads Impact Measurement and Advisory at Sattva.

He brings over 15 years of experience in the development sector, across program design, implementation, and Monitoring and Evaluation. He has designed and delivered more than 75 social impact assessment projects across sectors and geographies with large CSRs and Foundations such as Google, JPMorgan, ACC, Philips, L&T Infotech, L&T Financial Services, Dell and Fidelity. He has been instrumental in developing & publishing a Lifeskills assessment tool for youth.

He holds a master’s degree in Social work and is an alumnus of the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Programme.