In: women entrepreneurs

Since time immemorial jewellery has been used as a symbol of celebrating one’s status of royalty, divinity , power and wealth. However, a fast catching trend in the 21st century is that of conscious fashion – one where brands are no longer tight lipped to speak out on issues of social relevance

Strivaasa is a purpose driven jewellery brand aiming to build a conscious community of women that encourages them to aspire, hustle and conquer their dreams. As a ‘woke’ brand catering to ‘woke’ audiences we at Strivaasa raise our voice for creating awareness about the ongoing Farmer Ordinance

Wondering what does a conscious , purpose driven jewellery brand catering to modern women have in common with Indian farmers ? Well, read on to unravel the connection! 

India is a country with it’s major chunk of population residing in the villages. Around 73.2% of rural women today work as farmers. As per data from Oxfam India, agriculture sector employs 80% of all economically active women in India which makes the sector a very essential one for women of our country. The Economic Survey of 2017-18 points out to the critical phenomenon of ‘feminisation’ of agriculture sector with increasing number of women in multiple roles as cultivators, entrepreneurs, and labourers with men moving to cities.In Bihar only, 50.1% of the total workforce engaged in farming activities are presently women 

As a brand given to conscious fashion for a new-age woman of substance,  it felt but right to bring out the perspective of  how agriculture supports the livelihood of 80% of financially active women in India and how we the women of a growing India , rising India need to have an awareness about the ongoing Farmer debacle because it’s our sisters who will be impacted too. The 3 Ordinances of Farmer’s Policy are:

1.Giving farmers freedom to sell their produce in any physical or electronic market across India and not be restricted by APMC defined markets (Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce Promotion and Facilitation )

2.Three level dispute settlement mechanism for farmers and buyers with full pricing and tenure terms in writing with no exception. In no case can any legal action be taken against the farmer’s ownership of agricultural land for recovery of any dues (Farmer’s Empowerment and Protection Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services) 

3.Amendment to Essential Commodities Act which takes away power from Central government to regulate essential items like food items, fertilizers, and petroleum products under situations other than of war, famine, extraordinary price rise, natural calamity of grave nature 

(Source: Legislative Brief on Agriculture Ordinances 2020 by PRS India) 

A telephonic conference with representatives and leaders from Punjab’s farmers’ organizations we sensed strong disagreement. Pushing our curiosity, we connected with the 25 year old, Rajvir* ( name changed for privacy) who holds a Masters in Agriculture from the state of Punjab and currently works for a dairy startup. Rajvir is all pumped up about the ongoing farmers revolt .  He expresses dissatisfaction about passing of the bill into an ordinance without proper Parliamentary discussion. Photographs of elderly revolting farmers getting hit by police make Rajvir livid and rebellious.  Letting people dissent peacefully in a democracy is a constitutional right of the people which must not be challenged by the government says Rajvir and adds that the farmers were doing just fine and all they needed was an increase in the minimum support price or MSP as per the Swaminathan report

However if we consider the policy from a different lens, the entire picture may not be as bleak as it might seem .Given the freedom from APMC and the access to electronic markets, women and men farmers will have a broader playing field in a pan India scenario. The middle-men in government’s APMC might lose power and probably their illegal monthly cuts too. Agriculture will perhaps break free from the existing evils of bureaucracy into a 21st century ready agrarian system that will benefit the last mile producers of our country by giving them greater freedom to sell their produce anywhere across the country , with a fixed contract that promises them a pre-defined sum for a fixed tenure of the agreement with the buyers. Lifting the limit on storage of food items will hopefully ensure that the buyers can deliver on the agreement with the farmer sisters and brothers and buy from them what they had agreed upon

While the farmers’ protest is on, we’ll be thrilled to hear you raise your conscious voice in the comments below

A conversation with Meagan Fallone, a 2018 Hillary Laureate and Harvard Business School alum shared insights on why women leaders can build a better tomorrow. 

8-year-old, Meagan Fallone spent her summer holidays as a child growing up on a farm and  fondly recalls of launching a road side lemonade stand to people driving by who were long distances between towns. The profits of the day would be handed over to her not so privileged  young friends by way of free excess lemonade!  Clearly creative thinking, spirit of service and entrepreneurship were an integral part of Meagan’s personality as a young girl. Meagan Fallone grew up to be an alum from several well respected universities and has degrees in History of modern art, fine arts and an MBA. She see herself as an ordinary and imperfect human being that dons multiple hats: mother, friend, colleague  adventurer and athlete. She also happens to work a schedule that most people would be exhausted by.

Former CEO of Barefoot College she now steps into a new role working directly between social entrepreneurs, companies and communities to work towards building new economic models that can be replicated and which ensure stakeholder value for people and planet. She remains an active and engaged woman climate leaders and a champion for the inclusion of women in both climate and renewable energy sectors globally. She is also working with the Government of Fiji and Zanzibar on building the Barefoot College’s in those locations, expanding thier vocational offering and helping to co create with Government thier impact.

Meagan has worked in the remote rural areas of India trying to find creative ways to uplift women entrepreneurs . She believes women are wired for entrepreneurship because they can see the promise and constraints and have what it takes to work around those constraints
Meagan’s views about leadership are a breath of fresh air. 

Having stepped down as CEO of Barefoot College by replacing herself with lateral leadership of 12 people , Meagan goes on to say that the measure of a leader is by how they empower their teams to tackle crisis . She states that if in India more people started to see ordinary communities and the women who are able to influence thought who live in rural areas, many issues would change faster for the positive.  Meagan also holds that succession and transfer of power is necessary for building resilient organizations and systems.

Another interesting thought bomb comes when Meagan is quizzed about how women entrepreneurs or working women can be encouraged to flourish. Building systems that reward women’s extensive skills into professional streams and into labour force will ensure women are graded on different parameters. Thus, ensuring that systems are built equally and have a capability to encourage men as well as women to progress on the basis of what comes naturally to them .To make it easy to understand she says ” diversity isn’t only about making space at the table. Its about making space that allows each person to bring their best selves to the table without getting intimidated.

Meagan Fallone is known as an international champion for Women’s Climate, Education, Economic & Social Justice. Meagan shares a special bond with India. Being a Director of Barefoot College International whose work is in 14 Indian states and now beginning to work with the agri food sector specifically around better education delivery, her commitment to India and its rural areas continues undaunted. Meagan has worked extensively with local women’s communities on matters ranging from electricity access to education and inculcating a human rights based approach to holistic development. She is a strong advocate for private sector, social enterprise and Governments coming together to co create the programs that will genuinely meet the needs of communities  and considers herself an Alumna of The Barefoot Movement for learning, unlearning and relearning.  


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