I am a passionate agribusiness professional, but I could never imagine that a job would provide me with a learning platform, the way CARE India has. I have always wanted to work for the empowerment of women through the livelihood route. Even as a child, my parents enrolled me into a coeducational institution, and they made sure that I was sensitized about gender specific issues. My interactions with the women in my life have also helped me become more flexible towards them and understand gender specific issues better.

My experiences in life have taught me that men and women are different from each other, but in our society this is often equated with inequality. Women are often not treated the way they should be, and this has always agitated me.

I began my journey with CARE India only recently, and I was amazed to learn the kind of work the organization does with women and girls. Working with the livelihoods team, I have seen another side of India. This made me curious about CARE’s projects, especially in the rural setting, with women and girls. Exposure to these projects made me wonder, how I could contribute towards making this country a better place for women. When I got the opportunity to attend my first ever gender workshop at CARE, I made sure that this opportunity was not wasted.

The workshop opened doors for me in terms of understanding gender specific concerns. The concepts of gender equality, gender equity and gender transformative changes became much clearer to me. Incorporating these measures in judging the success of various programs initiated by CARE was also made possible through this workshop. The training also gave me the opportunity to understand the dynamics of power, and how it is being used in a positive way for the empowerment of women and the society as a whole.

I have interacted with SHGs ( Self Help Groups) and women farmers who were part of Where the Rain Falls’ and ‘Pathways’ initiatives. My past experiences helped me to determine the social and economic needs of these women better. Seeing things though the gender lens enabled me to suggest interventions and activities to help empower them in the future. The training gave me clarity about how to build components of gender and women empowerment in various current and future projects by monitoring their impact on the lives of women and girls.

I view this as a learning opportunity given to me by CARE India, and through this I can help the organization achieve their mission of alleviating poverty and social exclusion by facilitating empowerment of women and girls from poor and marginalized communities.

Manoj Singh