Studies indicate that the benefits of female economic empowerment are immense both to women and to society. At an individual level, a woman in work not only reaps the financial benefits of paid employment but also becomes more confident and independent. Her self-esteem rises and she becomes a good role model for her children, especially her daughters. At a wider societal level, this UN Women’s report highlights some key benefits of female economic empowerment, citing amongst other things that “when more women work, economies grow”.
This growth and economic empowerment is the prime objective of Kundakala.
Throughout the world, women’s unemployment remains a core societal issue. It shows up particularly starkly in the two countries where Kundakala is deeply involved.
In India, data from the World Bank illustrates that although women’s employment has always been low to begin with, it has dropped by nearly 11% in the last fifteen years. This indicates that there are millions of women who are out of the workforce and unable to work for a variety of reasons.
In the UK, data published by the Office of National Statistics states that the unemployment rate in women is 4%. Statistics by the British government note that this rate doubles to 8.1% for women who are classed as British Asian Minority Ethnic and are from Asian, African, and non-white groups.
In both India and within the ethnic minorities in the UK, the barriers to good, decent paid work are very similar. These tend to be cultural and societal: the lack of skills, education and confidence, and an inability to integrate into the wider community.
Kundakala seeks to help women overcome these barriers and give them a chance to secure decent paid work on their own terms.
I don’t fear hard work and I have been working with Kunda Kirloskar’s family for a very long time. When Kunda Vahini and Poornima gave me the opportunity to work with them on Kundakala I was thrilled. Now I help Poornima do the logistics and quality control of all our products. I always felt being illiterate would hold me back, but today I can liaise with couriers and suppliers with confidence.