Decent Employment for Women - India (DEW)

With the main objective of improving the employability of poor women in the informal sector in India, the ILO implemented the pilot project “Decent Employment for Women in India Project (DEW)” from 2001 to 2005. This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). The main target group of this project was poor and often illiterate or semi-illiterate women living in slum areas in the metropolitan areas of Delhi and Bangalore.

The activities undertaken under the project focused on five components: 1) capacity building of public vocational training institutes in developing and providing relevant skills training for improved employability of poor women in the informal sector; 2) capacity building of relevant NGOs, public training institutes and network structures to train poor women in the non-formal sector in productive employment, workers’ rights, occupational safety and health and life skills; 3) capacity building for training providers to train women in the informal sector by establishing and strengthening training networks, and to train trainers from other government and private sector institutions and NGOs so that they were better equipped to assist women in the informal sector to enhance their skills and knowledge for employability and empowerment; 4) delivery of training to poor women in the two metropolitan areas of Delhi and Bangalore; and 5) improvement of women trainees’ employment opportunities and possibilities for improved family and child welfare.
The biggest achievement of the project was the training of 4,500 women in traditional or non-traditional vocational skills and soft and entrepreneurial skills. At the end of the project, 70% of the trainees were employed or self-employed and their average income ranged from 1,000 Rs. to 3,500 Rs per month. There was also a change in attitude of husbands who were often skeptical to the training. Moreover, women gained more self confidence, and in the cases where income was adequate, women often tried to send children to better schools.