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Top CSR projects empowering women in India

Women Empowerment
Women are the key driving force for society. They play a crucial role when it comes to community development. At home, women form the backbone of every family. However, since ages women across the world have been oppressed, their voices have been suppressed, their rights have been overlooked.
Thankfully, the picture has started changing for the better and women are learning to be vocal about their rights too! And not just women, men nowadays are also being vocal about the same. Several companies and top corporates operating in India in collaboration with CSR foundations and non-profit organisations have focused a major chunk of their CSR initiatives for women and girl children.
They are working towards girl child education, menstrual hygiene awareness, maternal health, malnutrition, skilling, gender equality, bridging the gaps and financially empowering underprivileged and marginalised women.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on 8th March, The CSR Journal takes a look into some of the latest and recent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives aimed at empowering women in India.

Top CSR Projects for Women

For senior citizens

CSR of Malabar Group

Malabar Group opened ‘Grandma Home,’ a destitute home in Bengaluru, Karnataka, for women in October 2023. Supported by Malabar Charitable Trust, the CSR arm of Malabar Group, and operationally managed by NGOs such as Thanal, Grandma Home offers free shelter, food, medical assistance, and mental and physical healthcare facilities to its inhabitants. Spread across a 14,780 sq. ft. area with a 3-story building, the home boasts a comfortable, safe, and hygienic living environment with a capacity to accommodate 104 women, as per an announcement.
The home is equipped to cater to the needs of elderly women, offering a range of amenities and services to enhance their quality of life. A dedicated medical team, coupled with trained social workers specialising in elderly care, has been deployed around the clock at the home. The ground floor of the home is dedicated to a dialysis centre, clinic, and pharmacy. A well-equipped kitchen to prepare clean and healthy food is also facilitated at the home.
Malabar Charitable Trust aims to open similar destitute homes in Hyderabad, Telangana, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and other parts of India shortly, as per an announcement from the company.

Digital Skills


CSR of American Express

Laying a strong foundation to bridge the digital skill gap amongst women, NASSCOM Foundation and American Express announced partnership in September 2022 to train and upskill 700 women graduates through an employment-linked training project, ‘Women Empowerment Through Technology’. Under this project, American Express and NASSCOM Foundation are working with two training partners – FUEL (Friends Union for Energizing Lives) and RCED (Regional Centre for Entrepreneurship) to impart women with technology-based skill development and entrepreneurship training.
‘Women Empowerment Through Technology’ project focuses on training 700 women on various technical courses including Cloud and Data Analytics, Blockchain, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The enrolled beneficiaries will also be groomed through non-technical courses including communication skills, holistic personality development and interview skills. On successful completion of the programme, the women beneficiaries will receive a validated professional certificate and job placements, as per the announcement.

CSR of BNP Paribas

In a move to bridge the digital skill gap among women, BNP Paribas has partnered with Nasscom Foundation to train over 300 engineering women graduates through an employment-linked training project called Skill Development for marginalised Young Women towards Employment.
This hybrid programme marked its first year in Febryary 2024. As per an announcement, the programme is designed for technical skilling of the next generation of women engineers in India from marginalised sections of society. The programme is currently working with women engineering graduates from tier two and tier three colleges in Bengaluru, Tumkur, Mumbai and Pune.
The programme trains students from select colleges on a range of technical skills. These include Python Developer and data analytics and soft skills including (verbal / non-verbal reasoning, numerical aptitude, logical reasoning, business etiquette, problem solving, time management, customer orientation and interview skills.
The women students are provided opportunities to secure job offers through placement drives and job fairs conducted by Nasscom foundation. Lot of these students, who are in the age group of 18-25 years, have already been placed with companies like IBM, CGI and Unisoft, as per a press statement.

CSR of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages announced in August 2023 that it will provide financial and digital literacy training to 25,000 women across the country. The company has partnered with the Y4D foundation for this initiative, which will equip women from diverse backgrounds in different locations and bridge the skills gap in financial and technological knowledge.
The financial literacy training will cover fundamental concepts like Banking Basics, Account Opening procedures, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) training, Investment Guidance, Net Banking, and information on various Government Schemes for women such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Sam Riddhi Yojana Nari Shakti. On the other hand, the digital literacy component will encompass topics such as Mobile Banking, Digital Market Linkage, and Cyber Safety and Security to equip these women with the necessary tools to succeed in the digital era, as per an announcement by the company.
The training will be conducted in a classroom-based format in identified locations nationwide. The beneficiaries will be identified and trained in groups based on their interests, needs, and current digital and financial literacy levels.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2024, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages announced the successful completion of its multi-state women’s empowerment initiative to provide financial and digital literacy training to 25,000 women.
The curriculum was designed to cover a broad spectrum of vital skills crucial for thriving in the new economy. From the fundamentals of banking and account setup to navigating the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), from savvy investment strategies to leveraging online banking, the program also spotlighted government initiatives aimed at supporting women such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Sam Riddhi Yojana, and Nari Shakti. The digital literacy component included Mobile Banking, Digital Market Linkage, and Cyber Security. Thus, paving the way for participants to secure a robust livelihood and contribute significantly to household economics.
The interactive sessions, conducted in local languages ensured an engaging learning experience, bolstered by the provision of summary booklets, pre-recorded lectures, and the awarding of completion certificates, as per an announcement by the company.

Financial Empowerment


American multinational payment card services corporation Visa announced in October 2022 that it has pledged US$ 1 million to United Way Mumbai, to empower women-owned and women-focused businesses over the next three years. The project is being implemented in a total of 170 villages/towns across four states – Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, and Karnataka will focus on creating sustainable, long-term skills for entrepreneurship among participants. The project aims to train over 8500 women and connect them with financial services relevant to their enterprises and communities. The CSR project will target three core impact areas: Access to knowledge and services for financial inclusion, Entrepreneurship development and formation of sustainable Self-Help Groups.

CSR of Standard Chartered Bank

Housing non-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity India announced in early 2023 that it has partnered with Standard Chartered Bank to provide 969 women with upskilling, alternative livelihood opportunities, and assistance in establishing micro-enterprises to generate additional income. The project is known as Empowering Women and Improving Life through Livelihood Interventions.
These women are from the states of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Odisha. The aim of this project is to equip the women with leadership and technical skills, engage them in income generation activities and empower them to achieve strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.
This initiative was accomplished by forming and strengthening 85 self-help groups (SHG) across the three states, through which women were brought together, trained in business development, marketing, and government scheme comprehension. The SHGs were assisted in establishing their own businesses through seed funding, hand-holding, and multi-level technical training from Habitat’s subject matter experts. In addition, SHGs members were encouraged to open bank accounts for their new businesses and keep financial records, as per the announcement.

AU Udyogini

CSR of AU Small Finance Bank

AU Small Finance Bank announced in January 2024 that it has empowered 787 women to become self-reliant entrepreneurs through its ‘AU Udyogini’ programme in Jaipur, Karauli, and Baran districts of Rajasthan. In January, 133 businesses owned by women entrepreneurs were inaugurated across the Jaipur, Karauli, and Baran districts.
The programme was launched in October 2022 as a pilot project by AU Small Finance Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) wing, with 25 rural women. Now, AU Udyogini empowers women from distressed backgrounds in rural Rajasthan and enables them to improve their respective family incomes. AU Small Finance Bank trains them in establishing 24 kinds of businesses including spices business, craft, beauty parlour etc. The bank also helps them with market linkages to set up their individual businesses.

CSR of Aditya Birla Group

BITS Pilani’s technology business incubator, Pilani Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Society recently announced the launch of its start-up programme, ‘Womenpreneur for Bharat 1.0,’ in association with the Women Entrepreneurship Platform, incubated within NITI Aayog, and supported by Aditya Birla Capital Foundation, the CSR arm of Aditya Birla Capital Limited.
The partnership was announced at the state workshop on ‘Enabling Women-Led Development through Entrepreneurship’ at Dorjee Khandu State Convention Center, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on November 24, 2023.
‘Womenpreneurs for Bharat 1.0’ is aimed at providing funding and incubation support to women entrepreneurs who are building solutions for/from Tier 2/3/4 cities across Northeast region, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Jammu & Kashmir. The programme will seek both for-profit and non-profit women-led start-ups working across UN-SDG areas and solving business or societal challenges in those regions.
The programme would provide funding of up to Rs. 10 lakhs to eligible start-ups, along with extended incubation support from PIEDS, including 1-1 mentoring, market access support, and opportunities to raise future investments, as per an announcement.

CSR of Hyundai

In March 2024, Hyundai Motor India Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hyundai Motor India Ltd., announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ‘Navjyoti Transforming Lives & Careers Society’ NGO and BluSmart, EV ride hailing service for providing employment to 250 trained women drivers who are the beneficiaries of the Foundation’s ‘Drive4Progress’ initiative.
‘Drive4Progress’ is a driver skill development initiative aimed at providing professional driver training and employment opportunities for youth. The project, launched in October 2023, aims to cover over 1500 youth including a minimum of 30% women, from Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal, over the next 3 years. HMIF, in collaboration with Navjyoti NGO, the implementation agency for the programme, plan to a talent pool of trained drivers from Below Poverty Line (BPL) communities and equip them with the necessary skills to gain employment in the transportation sector.
HMIF and Navjyoti will support the participants to obtain a permanent driving license and the graduating students will be certified by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) post successful completion of training and assessments. This initiative also focuses on facilitating wage employment for a minimum of 70% of the beneficiaries and self-employment opportunities for the rest.
Under the terms of the MoU, HMIF’s ‘Drive4Progress’ initiative will provide training to women interested in pursuing careers as professional drivers through Navjyoti. The comprehensive training program covers essential skills such as safe driving practices, soft skills, customer service, vehicle maintenance, and road safety in their respective regional languages. Upon successful completion of the 45-day training, 250 skilled women drivers will be eligible for employment opportunities within BluSmart’s dynamic workforce, as per an announcement.

Menstrual Hygiene

Ms. Advaitesha Birla Founder Ujaas and Dr. Neerja Birla Founder and Chairperson Aditya Birla Education Trust flagging of the Ujaas Menstrual Health Express in Mumbai

Ujaas – Aditya Birla Group

Noted industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla’s younger daughter Advaitesha Birla has founded ‘Ujaas’, a social enterprise which is raising awareness on menstrual hygiene and breaking taboos. Ujaas is an initiative by Aditya Birla Education Trust, which has is driving away menstrual taboos and fostering nationwide awareness for menstrual health and hygiene management.
The ‘Ujaas Menstrual Health Express’, a mobile van was flagged off from Mumbai in January 2024 for raising awareness on menstrual hygiene and distributing sanitary pads to empower women across India. Notably, a significant portion of these distributed napkins will be manufactured by Ujaas itself, in collaboration with Self-Help Groups. Ujaas has partnered with local NGOs to drive awareness and gain insights into the varied cultures, practices, and beliefs surrounding menstruation and menstrual health and hygiene in different states of India.

CSR of Parexel

Project GendHer, by Parexel International (India) Private Limited focuses on building gender sensitivity among students and imparting crucial knowledge on the health and sanitation of girls during menstruation. Guided by the Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice (KAP) framework, the campaign operates through three distinct pillars. It involves enhancing teachers’ KAP to create a conducive atmosphere for students to discuss gender and menstruation freely, improving infrastructure related to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in schools, and integrating gender sensitivity talks and menstrual hygiene management discussions into the school curriculum.
Armed with age-appropriate content, teachers educated students, resulting in over 1000 children gaining knowledge on GendHer. The project also addressed tangible needs by providing hygiene kits to 600 girls and deploying safe sanitary pad incinerators and dispensers in intervention schools. Project GendHer secured the second runner-up position at The CSR Journal Excellence Awards 2023.

Skill Training

CSR of Tata Motors

Tata Motors Samaj Vikas Kendra is helping women in rural Uttar Pradesh to master the craft of ‘Chikankari’ and organise themselves into groups to run business ventures. The project has witnessed engagement of more than 150 women to form SHGs and actively engage in credit and thrift activities over the past 16 years.
Samaj Vikas Kendra began work on this project in 2007 to revive the handicraft also linking it to social economic development of women. The centre established a dedicated training centre for women from 15 villages in and around, to equip them with the required skillset and apprise them of the market trends. In 2011, the scope of the SHG Federation programme was enhanced to include newer skillsets like production of jute bags, candles, herbal Gulal (colour), cloth bags, artificial jewellery, etc.
Tata Motors also helped these women leverage various women welfare schemes run by the Government of Uttar Pradesh to enhance their skills and tap into opportunities to generate income.
UltraTech's Arakonnam Cement Works helps rural women to be economically independent through training in tailoring & embroidery
UltraTech’s Arakonnam Cement Works helps rural women to be economically independent through training in tailoring & embroidery

CSR of UltraTech Cement

UltraTech Cement’s grinding unit, Arakkonam Cement Works, located in Ranipet district of Tamil Nadu, has through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative helped over 2,000 rural women from low income families secure sustainable livelihoods and enhance their standard of living.
The unit adopted five villages namely, Kumpinipet, Melpakkam, Thandalam, Parithiputhur and Chitteri to help secure sustainable livelihoods for women from marginalised sections of the community. The women in these villages were dependent on unskilled labour, animal husbandry and agriculture to earn their livelihoods. The work was seasonal and erratic. The unit CSR team setup a training facility and commenced free tailoring and embroidery training for the women.
As on February 2024, 2,202 women from three villages of Chitteri, Thandalam and Parithiputhur have been trained. After successful completion of the training, the women were awarded certificates. Training for women from the other two villages is currently underway. About 800 of the trained women have been gainfully employed in local textile companies such as Ammayapper Textiles. The other trained women have also been able to augment their income by providing tailoring services locally.

CSR of Diageo

Beverage alcohol company Diageo India announced in February 2024 that it has launched a micro enterprise initiative to empower smallholder women farmers in Maharashtra’s Nashik. The initiative will initially enable 100 smallholder women farmers with the skills and resources to tackle crop loss, food waste and ensure sustainable livelihood.
In collaboration with Savitribai Phule Ekatma Samaj Mandal as the implementing partner and S4S Technologies as the technical partner, Diageo India will provide training, financial support and equipment to small holder women farmers to sun dry surplus produce and enable last mile connectivity to the consumers through the food supply chain.
This initiative is aligned to Diageo’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress plan which provides support to local sourcing communities to build economic and environmental resilience. In addition, it will contribute towards United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 which aims to halve per capita global food waste and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.
The program will focus on skilling women with the right methodology to cut, air-dry, and solar-dry vegetables like tomatoes, onions and ginger. This produce will then be supplied to hotels, restaurants and ingredient manufacturers to enable consistent supply for the food industry and stable income for these women micro entrepreneurs by creating a complete value chain, as per an announcement.