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Promoting Social Entrepreneurship Among Women Through Skill Development

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Unemployment is one of the features of underdevelopment countries, but India is no more an underdeveloped country. However, the problem of unemployment persist in the country on a very large scale. Various factors are responsible for this unemployment and leads to problems, including poverty, health issues, exploitation of resources and unsocial activities. Due to unemployment, the energy of the youth is getting diverted towards unsocial activities.

They potential of the youth is being used in mischievous/evil activities as they have no job and an idle mind with certain needs motivates people to cause evils and perform illegal or criminal activities.

In order to prevent our productive, talented, desirable and capable youth from getting into evil activities, governments should provide them employment. As we know, the majority of India’s vast population is of youth between age group of 20-35 years, which is a working age. It is quite not possible to give employment to each and every youth because of huge population and lack of capital resources. Therefore, the Indian Government keeps introducing new programmes from time to time for addressing the problem of unemployment such as TRYSEM, MNREGA, JRY, EAS, STEP, Startup India, Skill India and so on.

The paper mainly focuses on women and unemployment. Women play an important role in society as well as economy, yet, their potential, capability and skill remained underestimated. As studies and survey display, the participation of women in the aggregate work force remains low for a long period of time now.

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has identified a few of the major challenges that need to be addressed for building a conducive ecosystem of skill development for the women workforce. These are as follows:

(1) A large number of women need to be trained since currently, only 2% of the female workforce is formally trained

(2) Inadequacies in the quality and relevance of TAVET (Technical and Vocational Employment Training in India

(3) Inadequate infrastructure, acute shortage of trained women workers, poor quality of training

(4) Lack of mechanisms to judge and certify quality

(5) Inequity in accessing TVET for women

(6) Women trainees with a law-level education background that limits the training of women in the formal sector

(7) A lack of recognition of prior learning of potential women trainees

(8) Relatively high opportunity cost of learning involved for training women.

The major challenges noted here are only a few in number but represent a complexity of issues involved. Additionally, it is argued that the empowerment practice has to go beyond its focus on women to gender. A focus on gender would imply an emphasis on strategic needs such as leadership and advocacy, rather than a simple focus on basic needs. The concept of gender will also encourage an understanding and analysis of power relations, and enforce the idea of developing capabilities, than simply skills.

No doubt, the Indian government has launched a large number of schemes to eliminate unemployment from the country. It is quite pertinent to mention that the Indian youth or labour is hard-working, talented, dedicated towards their job and ready to work, despite the  fact the question still exists: Why does unemployment remain the biggest problem for our country?

The uneducated or rural people are not just suffering from unemployment, the educated and urban people are equally suffering from problem. The schemes introduced to carve out or tackle this problem are performing very poorly due to lack of proper implementation and accountability.

India is one of the few countries in the world where the working age population will be far in excess of those dependent on them and, as per the World Bank, this will continue for at least three decades till 2040. This has increasingly been recognised as a potential source of significant strength for the national economy, provided we are able to equip and continuously upgrade the skills of the population in the working age group.


The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship takes a multidimensional view of the term ‘skill’. ‘We recognise the fact that ‘skill’ has both intrinsic and instrumental value. Possessing a skill can be an end in itself – giving individuals greater self-confidence, self esteem and dignity, which results from the knowledge that they can stand on their own feet.

A skill can also be a means to an end. It can a tool that helps individuals realise their aspirations by pursuing better jobs that lead to stability and a sustainable livelihood. Skilling is a lifelong process, hence, skill upgradation and reskilling are fundamental components of the skilling cycle. The Ministry also sees a close connection between skilling and entrepreneurship.

Women Entrepreneurship

Women entrepreneurship has been recognised as an important source of economic growth. Women entrepreneurs create new jobs for themselves and others, and also provide society with different solutions to management, organisation and business problems. However, they still represent a minority of all entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs often face gender-based
barriers to starting and growing their businesses — like discriminatory property, matrimonial and inheritance laws and/or cultural practices; lack of access to formal finance mechanisms; limited mobility and access to information and networks, etc.

Women entrepreneurship can make a particularly strong contribution to the economic wellbeing of the family and community, poverty reduction and women empowerment, thus contributing to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Thus, governments across the world as well as various developmental organisations are actively undertaking promotion of women entrepreneurs through various schemes, incentives and promotional measures. Women entrepreneurs in the four southern states and Maharashtra account for over 50% of all women-led small-scale industrial units in India.

Skill India Programme

Now, for eliminating unemployment, creating the jobs and establishing self-employment, Prime Minister Modiji took the initiative in the form of Skill India in July 2014. Skill India is a flagship initiative of the government of India that is intended to build an environment of becoming an entrepreneur, and providing jobs that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large-scale self employment and employment opportunities.

Urgent and effective action to Skill India is needed to capture the demographic potential of India’s youth. Based on data from the 68th Round of NSSO, it is estimated that only 4.69% of India’s total workforce has undergone formal skill training. Through this scheme, the government aims to empower people to enhance their talent or skill and establish their own business or get into the jobs.

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) will take care of coordination of all skill development efforts across the country, removal of disconnect between demand and supply of skilled manpower, building a vocational and technical training framework, skill up-gradation, building of new skills and innovative thinking not only for existing jobs but also jobs that are to be created.


Powered by the National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and backed by several government, industry bodies and a host of training partners, Skill India Campaign aims to skill 402 million people by 2022. The emphasis is to skill the youth in such a way so that they get employment and also improve entrepreneurship. Provides training, support and guidance for all occupations that were of traditional type such as carpenters, cobblers, welders, blacksmiths, masons, nurses, tailors, weavers etc.

More emphasis will be given on new areas like real estate, construction, transportation, textile, gem industry, jewellery designing, banking, tourism and various other sectors, where skill development is inadequate or nil.

National Skill Development Programme

The National Skill Development Mission (NSDP) was approved by the Union Cabinet on July 1, 2015, and officially launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on July 15, 2015, on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day. The Mission has been developed to create convergence across sectors and states in terms of skill training activities.

Further, to achieve the vision of Skilled India, the NSDP would not only consolidate and coordinate skilling efforts, but also expedite decision-making across sectors to achieve skilling at scale with speed and standards. Seven submissions have been proposed initially to act as building blocks for achieving overall objectives of the Mission: (i) Institutional Training, (ii) Infrastructure, (iii) Convergence Trainers, (iv) Overseas Employment, (v) Sustainable Livelihoods and (vii) Leveraging Public Infrastructure.

It will be implemented through a streamlined institutional mechanism driven by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. An entrepreneurship development scheme is currently being developed by the Ministry. The scheme is being designed around the following major elements:

  • Educating and equipping potential and early stage entrepreneurs across India
  • Connecting entrepreneurs to peers, mentors and incubators
  • Supporting entrepreneurs through Entrepreneurship Hubs (EHubs)
  • Catalysing a culture shift to encourage entrepreneurship
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship among underrepresented groups
  • Promoting entrepreneurship amongst women
  • Fostering social entrepreneurship and grassroots innovation
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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