Self Employed Women’s Association  
SEWA
Self Employed Women’s Association
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SEWA is registered as a trade union under the Indian Trade Unions Act of 1926. The union is open for membership to self-employed women workers all over India. The membership fee is Rs. 5 per year. The union is governed by a two-tier level of elected representation. The members of each trade elect their representatives in the ratio of 1 representative per 100 members. These representatives then form the Trade Council (Pratinidhi Mandal). In addition, and parallel to the Trade Council are Trade Committees(Dhandha Samiti) in each trade. The Trade Committee has no fixed proportion to number of members but varies between 15 to 50 members. The Trade Committees meet every month and discuss the problems of their trades and possible solutions to them. Trade Council members are members of their respective Trade Committees as well. The organiser of a trade group is the Member Secretary of that group's Trade Committee.
 
Every three years the Trade Council elects an Executive Committee of 25 members. The representation on the Executive Committee reflects the proportion of the membership.
 
  The office-bearers of the trade union are elected from among the Executive members. It has become a practice to elect the President from the trade with the largest membership.
   
  SEWA's Membership
   
 
» Self-Employed Women Workers – our Members
   
  SEWA members are workers who have no fixed employee-employer relationship and depend on their own labour for survival. They are poor, illiterate and vulnerable. They barely have any assets or working capital. But they are extremely economically active, contributing very significantly to the economy and society with their labour. In fact, 64% of GDP is accounted for by the self – employed of our country. There are Four types of self-employed women workers:
   
 
  Hawkers, vendors and small business women like vegetable, fruit, fish, egg and other vendors of food items, household goods and clothes vendors :
  Home-based workers like weavers, potters, bidi and agarbatti workers, papad rollers, ready-made garment workers, women who process agricultural products and artisans, and
  Manual labourers & service providers like agricultural labourers, construction workers, contract labourers, handcart pullers, head – loaders, domestic workers      and laundry workers. In addition to these three categories there is emergence of another category of women workers.
  Producers & Services who invest their labour and capital to carry out their businesses. This category includes Agriculture, cattle rearers , salt workers, gum collectors, cooking & vending etc.
   
 
» 2008 SEWA Membership
   
 

All India Membership

9,66,139

Gujarat Membership

5,19,309

   
 
» All - India Membership year - 2008
   
 

State

Membership

Gujarat

5,19,309

Bihar
- Munger
- Bhagalpur

12,000

Murshidabad

1,758

Delhi

15,771

Rajasthan
- Bikaner
- Dungarpur
- Jaipur
- Ajmer
- Jodhpur


5,035
3,300
550
100
183

Madhya Pradesh
- SEWA -Indore

3,82,000

Uttar Pradesh
- Bareli
- Lucknow


402
24,100

Kerala
- Trivandrum


675

Dehradhun

954

Total

9,66,139

   
 
» Gujarat Membership by Trade 2008
   
 

Main Categories of workers

No. of women

Manual Labourers and Service Providers

3,29,507

Home based workers

86,962

Hawkers &Vendors

57,010

Producers

45,830

Total

5,19,309

   
 
» Gujarat Membership - Rural - Urban 2008
   
 

Main categories of workers

No. of women

Percentage of total membership

Urban

1,78,736

34.42

Rural

3,40,573

65.58

Total

5,19,309

100.00

   
 
» Growth of SEWA's Membership : 1972-2008 (India)
   
 

Year

Gujarat

India

1972

1070

1070

1977

1948

1948

1982

10733

10733

1987

15144

15144

1990

25911

25911

1991

46076

46076

1992

38136

45936

1993

42280

53570

1994

75615

143702

1995

158152

218797

1996

162781

212016

1997

159204

211124

1998

142810

209250

1999

147618

215234

2000

205985

318527

2001

284317

420208

2002

535674

694551

2003

469306

704166

2004

468445

688743

2005

475308

796755

2006

483012

959698

2007

551974

1123542

2008

519309

966139

   
  While the overall trend is upward, there have been periods of fluctuation over the past decade. Membership increases occurred as a result of campaigns which developed into mass movements in some rural districts, concrete gains from organising of some categories of workers like vendors and home based workers and also be cause of support during crises.

Over the years, the complexion of SEWA's membership has changed significantly. In 2006, of SEWA's 4,83,012 strong membership in Gujarat, 60.77% was rural and 39.23% urban. Within our four major occupational categories, the picture was as follows:
   
 
1. Hawkers & vendors - 53,053 members 10.98%
2. Home-based workers - 69,795 members 14.45%
3. Manual Labourerers Service Providers - 3,35,065 members 69.37%
4. Producers & Services - 25,099 members 5.20%
   
  Till 1994, SEWA's membership was predominantly urban. This was partly due to our origins and base being at Ahmedabad. However, in the late eighties, SEWA intensified its rural organising, with the resultant increase in membership from rural areas.
Self Employed Women's Association
SEWA Reception Centre, Opp. Victoria Garden, Bhadra, Ahmedabad - 380 001. India.
Phone : 91-79-25506444 / 25506477 / 25506441, Fax : 91 - 79 - 25506446, Email :mail@sewa.org
     
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