Beyond the Norm: Scope of Non-traditional Livelihood Skilling for Women in Achieving Women's Economic Empowerment

Institute of Social Studies Trust ISST's recent study, "Beyond the Norm: Scope of Non-traditional Livelihood Skilling for Women in Achieving Women's Economic Empowerment" aimed to understand the importance of skilling women in what is considered as ‘nontraditional’ and how that can lead to women’s economic empowerment. While there is no fixed definition of which work can qualify as ‘non-traditional’, vis-à-vis ‘traditional’, there are several ways through which it can be approached.

The research conducted with the support of Non-traditional Livelihood Network partner organisations was designed as a qualitative study with in-depth case narratives of selected participants. As a part of the dissemination plan of the research findings, a short film was commissioned by the team to help the key findings of the report reach a wider audience. Wind Beneath My Wings is a visual representation of the experience of NTL skilling of two organisations within the NTL network, that the study looks into. By highlighting the skilling journey of Beena Toppo, an adivasi girl living in the tea garden area of North Bengal getting skilled in wall painting and by diving into the pedagogical design of the driving training programme of Azad Foundation, the film showcases the processes and challenges of Non-traditional livelihoods skilling The film has been directed by Debalina Majumder, an independent film maker and cinematographer of international repute.

Study can be found on this link

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Comment by John Siddham on April 8, 2024 at 5:55

Excellent piece, beyond the norm and enabling non-traditional roles to promote economic independence. 

Comment by Anweshaa Ghosh on January 17, 2023 at 17:05

Thank you Rituu for uploading the film. We appreciate all the love the film has received here and elsewhere. 

@Eunpurity - I assure you these girls are aged around 19-21 years. They live in an impoverished district in North Bengal where there is low and limited access to nutrition, formal education, housing, etc. hence look younger in built.

Comment by Cristina de Nicolás Izquierdo on January 10, 2023 at 2:50

Fantastic study and very good idea the video as a tool for dissemination, bringing to life the testimonies of these women.

I will share Rituu with CSO colleagues in the Pacific who are working on similar initiatives in action research.

Thank you very much for sharing and all your work and commitment to the network Rituu!

Warm regards,


Comment by Eunpurity on January 9, 2023 at 19:43

A very nice short film that shows how women are empowered and how we can overcome gender stereotype and believe a woman can also be employed or skilled in tasks that are believed to be for men only. 

My only concern is the age of the women engaged in this activities. From the film some appeared younger(below 18years)?

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