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Women Now Allowed to Work in Government Employment Program


    Uttar Pradesh

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Due to the patriarchal attitudes of local authorities, women in Keshavpur village were denied the right to work under the government scheme NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) despite being legally able to do so. Kesha Devi undertook a campaign to secure employment access for the women of Keshavpur village, using documentaries and filing applications from 25 women with their signatures. The programme officer relented in the face of this pressure and gave work to the women , marking a historic victory for gender equality. This struggle against systemic discrimination showcases the power of community mobilization and awareness in overcoming patriarchal hurdles, leading to transformative change. It also sparked a broader discourse on gender empowerment and inclusive policies in their village.

Report illustration

The narrative from Keshavpur village, Uttar Pradesh, embodies a landmark victory for gender equality, with women securing employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) after years of persistent advocacy led by Kesha Devi, a correspondent for Video Volunteers. This case study illustrates a method for combatting gendered discrimination in employment practices, rectifying gender disparities in labor participation rates within the region and potentially inspiring similar movements and attitude change across India.


  • Wage Increase: Employment under NREGA raised women's wages from $1.5 to $3 per day.
  • Societal Recognition: The formal recognition and employment under NREGA is estimated to be worth $50 per beneficiary in terms of societal status improvement and access to social welfare programs.


  • Increased Earnings and Job Security: Providing 25 women with NREGA employment, which increased their daily wage to the minimum wage, calculates to a benefit of $1.5 * 100 * 25 = $3750 (the scheme guarantees 100 days of work only)

  • Social Change in Attitudes: Estimating a conservative benefit of $50 per woman for the overall improvement in mental health, dignity, and social inclusion, totals to $50 * 25 = $1250

Total Quantified Benefits: $3750 (Increased Earnings) + $1,250 (Reduced Discrimination) = $5000

Counterfactual Analysis: Kesha Devi played a significant role in getting the women's signatures and making a video, leading us to take only a 20% probability that these employment opportunities might have been secured without her intervention.

The adjusted benefit with the counterfactual is $4000

Cost of Story is $850 , obtained by dividing the annual budget for video volunteers in 2016 ($320,788) with the total number of impact reports they produced in that year (377). 

Benefit/Cost Ratio: $4000 divided by $850 = 4.70

Conclusion: The story of Keshavpur village stands as a testament to the transformative power of advocacy and community mobilization in overcoming barriers to for women in the workforce. The benefit-to-cost ratio of 4.7 underscores the substantial return on investment in terms of economic empowerment, gender equality, and social awareness achieved through this intervention. Kesha Devi's role in facilitating this change highlights the importance of grassroots journalism and community activism in driving systemic change, serving as a model for gender empowerment efforts worldwide.