The moment we hear the word "single women", the picture that emerges in our mind is that of lonely, helpless, and weak women. This is true, because our society has deprived single women for centuries of their basic human rights. In India, the welfare and upliftment of widows has been raised time and again during many movements, but the welfare work on the ground has been largely confined to widow shelter homes and remarriage of widows. On the other hand, other single women have remained invisible to our social consciousness.

In spite of adverse age-old attitudes and discrimination, single women have been managing their families single handed without any support system. Contrary to being weak, this is testimony of their immense courage and capabilities.! Single women have used this courage to struggle to change the perception of society towards them and to create their own niche in the mainstream society.

In the year 1999, a Rajasthan state-level convention was organized in Bassi town of Jaipur District which was attended by 450 widowed women from 21 Districts in the state. This convention was organized to know about the problems and suffering of widows, to understand the reasons behind these problems and to plan a strategy to overcome them. It became evident during the course of the convention that widows are facing hardships not because of their bad luck, but rather as a result of patriarchy, inequality and the feudalistic mindset of the society.

Not only widows, but also divorced, separated, abandoned, older unmarried and other single women also bore the burden of the hardships. Organizing a convention alone was not sufficient to bring about changes in their lives. Single women have to organize themselves to fight a long battle and to lead the battle themselves. From 1999 onwards, Rajasthan single women started organizing themselves, and in order to strengthen and formalize this initiative. "The Organization of Strong Women Alone (Ekal Nari Shakti Sansthan)" was registered on the 2nd of April 2002 by the leaders of the single women organization. Since then, single women themselves have been in the leadership positions in this special social organization.

During our journey of building and strengthening the Organization, we have had many achievements. The primary focus of the organization initially had been to organize single women to help each other solve their problems, but over the years, the primary focus has evolved to be the empowerment of single women, releasing their power and strength to change their lives and the lives of others.

Scope of work and participation of women

Currently the Organisation of strengthened single women’s work area consists of 460 panchayats, 92 blocks and 33 districts in Rajasthan. The number of single women associated is over 94,557 women.

Number of active leaders

  • State level single women leaders- 70
  • Block committee members and panchayat level leaders- 2,790
  • Single women Block Facilitator- 102
  • Full time staff of the organisation- 4

Management Committees

  • State Level Committee (steering committee) – state level single women leaders- 70
  • Executive Committee - 11
  • Day-to-day guidance team - Motivators, Facilitators, workers, and staff