Azad Foundation to Organise First International Conference on Making Non-Traditional Livelihoods Work for the Marginalised


New Delhi: Azad Foundation, a knowledge leader in the domain of Women and Non-Traditional Livelihoods will organise India’s First International Conference on ‘Making Non-Traditional Livelihoods Work for the Marginalised’. The 3-days programme will begin on January 16th 2019 and will address various issues related to women’s workforce participation and non-traditional livelihoods for resource poor women.

Non-traditional livelihoods such as driving, masonry, painting, mechanics, is a way of “breaking the glass ceiling” that does not allow poor women to choose livelihoods with dignity and which are remunerative. The conference aims to bring together ‘experts who make/influence policy’ and ‘experts who make the change happen – the practitioners’ brainstorm on what is the need of the hour.

Commenting on the announcement, Ms. Meenu Vadera, Founder and Executive Director, Azad Foundation said, “The International Conference is aimed at addressing the issue of gender workforce and pay parity. World over, there is a disturbing trend of declining participation of women in workforce and on unequal pay terms (wage and pay gaps). In India, the gap is quite alarming, where women’s participation in the workforce has declined by 12% over the last two decades to 24% majority of whom (92%) are in the informal sector. With this conference we hope to bring advocates and practitioners of non-traditional livelihoods together to inform the national and global policy context around decent work and non-traditional livelihoods.”

The gender parity is particularly worrying at a time when the GDP of the country has more than doubled and numbers of women in the working age population have increased by 25%. This should be a matter of grave concern to all policy makers. The Conference is borne out of the experience that Azad and Sakha have garnered over the ten years and brings together ‘experts who make/influence policy’ and ‘experts who make the change happen – the practitioners’ to collectively brainstorm on what is the need of the hour.

Azad Foundation has been working relentlessly to address issues related to non-traditional livelihood for resource poor women. Women on Wheels is a successful flagship programme of Azad Foundation and Sakha that has enabled more than 1600 resource poor women to become employable in the transport industry as chauffeurs who have successfully provided safe rides to more than a million women. This also includes DTC’s first woman driver, UN’s first woman driver among others.

The conference which will kick-off on 16th January will discuss some of the most pertinent issues related to Women’s workforce participation and its challenges, Non-Traditional Livelihoods breaking gendered division of labour at home and outside, Hearing Voices from the ground- Experiences of NTL as enablers of viable livelihood
creation from around the world (construction workers, electricians, motor mechanics, women vetrenary doctor etc).