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Inspiring Woman Of The Week

Ela Bhatt is the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), an organization synonymous with promoting grassroots entrepreneurship.

Ela Bhatt is the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), an organization synonymous with promoting grassroots entrepreneurship.

Ela Bhatt was born in 1933 in Ahmedabad. She went on to study Law and was struck by the fact that although a large number of women were economically active as self-employed workers, few were protected by laws since they did not fall under the category of industrial workers. Thus she decided to start SEWA, in an effort to reach out and bring together such self-employed women.

Today SEWA works towards ensuring that self- employed women obtain work security, income security, food security as well as social security including healthcare, child care and shelter. Ela Bhatt is also one of the founding members of the Women’s World Banking which provides support to microfinance institutions and banks who offer financial assistance to low-income entrepreneurs in developing countries, especially women.

Ela Bhatt has won many prestigious awards such as the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize and the Ramon Magsaysay Award, among several others.

Why we find her inspiring:

– For helping women realize their potential and for channelizing their efforts into productive outcomes

– For helping rural women become self-reliant, well-informed and confident leaders

– For believing in the power and enterprise of Indian women

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*Photo credit: The Hindu

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