Gender inequity is another serious problem, particularly among the rural communities. In most parts of India, men have been dominating women in the society as well as in the family, leading to severe neglect of women development. Whenever, there was a scarcity of food, males were fed well by depriving females. Whenever there was sickness in the family, men took timely medical treatment, while there have been long delays in providing medical facilities to women. Lack of family planning affected women’s health significantly. Nevertheless, women had to share larger burden of the family, with respect to procuring the basic family needs such as water, fuel, fodder and even food. They also had to look after the livestock and work in agricultural fields. This has been the tradition since long. Today, over 65% of the agricultural operations in small farms are managed by women and with regard to livestock management, women contribute 85% labour. In India, the future of food security is dependent on the capabilities of rural women, but they have not been receiving necessary encouragement and training to adopt modern farming.
SJSM believes that it is difficult to make progress without empowering women. Therefore, it has taken extra efforts to encourage women involvement in all the development programmes right from the stage of project planning. Active participation of women in SJSM’s development programmes has helped to identify their problems and reduce their drudgery. SJSM has formed women’s Mahila Mandals, Self-help Groups and cooperative Societies. The ownership of these institutions belongs to them and SJSM plays a supportive role of capacity building and guidance. SJSM has formed more than 1000 Self-help Groups, one industrial development cooperative and two credit cooperatives.