THE WORLD WON’T BECOME A MORE EQUAL PLACE UNLESS WE CREATE IT
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“The future needs women’s jobs with green Technologies”
One long-standing interest of India’s Development Alternatives Group has been TARA. This initiative ensures that livelihood support services are provided to marginalised people including vocational training. Success also requires a few basic things such as a small solar energy reading light so that people can study in the evenings.
Development Alternatives’ founder Ashok Khosla has highlighted the positive consequences of tackling female illiteracy in rural India. Being able to read is a critical step to a quality job. In 1988 a ‘TARA’ all-women paper recycling business producing hand-made paper had 25 women workers between 23-35 years old. In 2009, 23 of those women still worked there. Between 1988 and 2009 the paper-producers had two additional children. On average, twenty-three additional births would have been expected of rural Indian women with the same demographic.
Noting that this was not a forced choice for the ‘TARA’ women and their families, this has major implications for the future pressure on resources arising from that reduction in births. To illustrate one aspect, Ashok estimates the combined package of education and enterprise creation would have cost between $4 and $10 per ton of carbon (CO2eq) emissions saved. These costs substantially undercut traditional thinking about abatement costs including Carbon Capture for fossil fuel electricity, energy efficiency and afforestation.
TARA and the wider Development Alternatives Group supports far more than female empowerment, but this small insight makes a powerful point for strengthening economies by building True Value costs and benefits for primary education, vocational training, women’s income and green technologies into business practices.