Women's Development


What do we mean by women's development?

Promoting gender equality in rural India allows women to be agents of change in their community through economic independence and participation in decisionmaking. 

Though women represent 48 percent of the Indian population, they are disproportionately poor and disadvantaged in comparison to men. Gender discrimination deprives them of taking control of their own lives, health, and means of income. In the most impoverished rural communities, women suffer extreme discrimination on account of their gender and low caste.

How we can help

Since 1982, we have worked hand in hand with communities to empower women, striving to demonstrate their capacity to support each other and their community through a variety of programs. Communities organize women's associations, or “sanghams.” Sanghams are women-led opportunities to support each other, gain access to microcredit, and start small businesses. Economic independence for women is the most powerful tool for recognition among their families and communities, and allows them to advocate for their needs. 

Our programs support 6 vocational training centers, 4 counseling centers, and a robust income generation program through the Women’s Empowerment Initiative.

• Approximately 110,000 women participate in an association 

• More than 11,000 women have received technical job skill training

• 8,500 women attend counseling and support centers

• 13,124 women have started small businesses

• 101,288 safe deliveries have taken place in VFF hospitals


Working in a Sangham

Nagamma heads a women’s shangam. Nagamma was elected by her village to perform this task. She is also the health worker for her village; she acts as midwife, family planning consultant and she takes care of making the people in her village more aware of the need to stamp out practices such as dowries, child marriages, the killing of female babies or domestic violence against women.

India is the fourth most dangerous country in the world to be born a woman, and it is only surpassed by Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Pakistan. According to the U.N., feticides, infanticides and feminicides have led to a shortage of 50 million women in India.

Since 2010, the Vicente Ferrer has been implementing a plan for an integral fight against violence in order to combat this social ill.  Moreover, the Foundation supports the creation of shangams or associations to promote the social and economic participation of women, who are traditionally excluded from such environments.

The Women’ Empowerment Initiative supports a savings program designed specifically for women. 60% of your donation supports women's programs and 40% is given directly to a woman beneficiary to launch her own small business. Sponsor a group of women today for just $15 per month.