Confronted with the challenge of empowering hundreds of thousands of rural women simultaneously, the Department of Women and Children has worked its way to the present level of activity. Many of the 17 Departmental strategies are of the do-it-yourself type. Intended to help - and not harm - empowerment, they are usually put under three headings: Mainstreaming, empowerment and inclusiveness.

Mainstreaming strategies

  • Broad-based networking
    Joint action will be effected in order to ensure gender equality and enjoyment of child rights by way of networking with all stakeholders in government, non-government and private sectors.
  • Leadership of the local agency
    The entire process of decentralized mainstreaming of gender and child rights will be facilitated by ensuring that the local elected body takes the leadership thereof, including the chairmanship of the Co-ordination Committee.
  • Ownership of the network member
    As well as following participatory methods of assessment in the course of identifying and addressing gender and child rights issues, partnership will be forged in such a way that the ownership of the initiative remains with the concerned network member.
  • Projection of the sector-specific effect
    Advocacy will be done by projecting the gender mainstreaming effect on achieving the sector-specific objective.
  • Delineation of the scope of work
    Co-ordination in mainstreaming will be brought about without entering into the scope of work of the network member and, in respect of child rights, a supportive role will be assumed by avoiding duplication in the case of functions being performed by the Central or District Child Welfare Boards.

Empowering strategies

  • Women-only groups
    Women-only groups will be formed so that deprived women have a sequestered space to do away with gender barriers, get involved in the empowerment process, and learn by taking decisions in their favour and using their discretion until days to come.
  • Adoption of the co-operative means
    For successive advancement of group members in the spirit if self-help and mutuality, institutionalisation will be done in line with the principles of Co-operation, under which neighbourly groups will be federated gradually at ward and village institution levels, and a forum for participation will be created at ward level in such a way that all group members hold meetings regularly.
  • Participation of men
    Participation of male members of the family and other male well-wishers in the community will be ensured in a variety of activities, including gender training, and also by giving priority to them while forming the Advisory Committee.
  • Target women's initiative
    For the purposes of empowerment, target women will be encouraged to move forward as activists and assistance will be given without influencing need-based choices.
  • Mobilisation of free resources
    With a view to encouraging the creativity of deprived women, free resources will be searched for and, accordingly,  priority will be given to share capital, seed money or other resources where there is less financial pressure over loans, savings or other resources where there is more financial pressure.
  • Association of out-of-school adolescent girls
    Adolescent girl circles will be formed by associating those deprived of schooling and at risk, and by looking upon then as members-to-be.
  • Business groups in a state of deprivation
    Business groups will be developed by focusing on deprived women and by considering self-employment as the exit from deprivation.
  • Expansion of community affiliation
    The community stake in women's empowerment will be increased by way of such activities as use of community resources, discourses on gender issues and public auditing, as well as such constructive initiatives as conservation of natural resources, protection of historical heritage and creation of small infrastructures.
  • Adjusted social mobilisation
    Involvement in social mobilisation will be adjusted according to the level of institutional development of the target group.

Inclusiveness strategies

  • Priority is access
    The order of priority in access to support or services offered will be maintained based on the level of deprivation of the target woman and having regard to economic and also social aspects thereof.
  • Non-differentiated grouping
    Social capital will be increased by bringing all women who are in a state of deprivation, including single women as well as women with disability or those belonging to the craft community, in the mainstream, and not by grouping them separately.
  • Differentiation in packaging
    In view of the special situation of women who have been in a state of multiple deprivation and have not been able to establish access to the regular process of social mobilisation, separate packaging of activities will be done based on the assumptions of conditional cash transfer.