The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 103

Assessing The Performance of Municipal Services For The Poor In Ahmedabad


15 July 1999

Author: Bhatt, M.

Publication Date: 1999

The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) was established in 1972 as a trade union of poor women from the informal sector. Today it is the largest single union in Gujarat with a membership of over 200 thousand, including urban and rural women who are home-based workers, hawkers and vendors and those who provide other services or manual labour.

These women constitute 93 per cent of the labour force of the unorganised sector in India, and SEWA’s main goals are to organise these women workers for full employment and selfreliance. Some 40 thousand members of SEWA live in Ahmedabad's 18 poorest wards, and in view of the range of problems from which poor urban women suffer, SEWA’s strategy revolves not just around employment issues, but embraces constructive struggle and sustainable democratic development. SEWA is thus both an organisation and a movement. 

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