A recent report suggests that India’s rural economy could benefit from a $50 billion market opportunity by using clean energy-powered appliances for livelihood activities, especially among women.
As more than 75% of all female workers in India are employed in agriculture and related industries, introducing decentralised renewable energy (DRE) technologies could help increase their productivity by mitigating intermittent electricity problems and introducing mechanisation, says the ‘Unlocking Sustainable Livelihood Opportunities for Rural Women’ report conducted by the Powering Livelihoods – a CEEW and Villgro initiative.
The report showcases several models to mainstream women in tech-enabled livelihood opportunities using distributed renewable energy-powered technologies as a case study. The Powering Livelihoods initiative has supported over 13,000 end-users, with over 10,400 of them being women, in increasing their income and employment opportunities.
The report captures detailed insights from more than 700 end-users, out of whom 70 per cent of women experienced a 33 per cent increase in income on average, and 92 per cent of women said that their business knowledge and skills have become more relevant.
The program has also helped unlock financing for women-led farmer producer organisations, with more commitments underway. Despite the potential for India’s GDP to grow by 18% by providing equal work opportunities for women by 2025, cultural barriers and lack of opportunities remain challenges for women to realize their full economic potential.