COVID-19 has devastated India's self-employed women. Here's how to support them.
Women in the informal economy have been hit by a devastating combination of lost income and an increased need for unpaid care of children and relatives
For the past 30 years Mirai has been at the forefront of improving the health and financial security of millions of women working in India’s informal sector. Mirai leads the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a social enterprise that helps 2 million members in India obtain work and income security, financial services, organize child care, primary health care, housing with water and sanitation and insurance, among many other activities and support services. She joined the organization in 1984 after completing her Hopkins field research with the organization. Since then, she has been instrumental in focusing the attention of both Indian and global policymakers on the health of poor people, particularly women. Her work with international agencies and the Indian government has highlighted the importance of issues such as gender inequity, education, and sanitation in public health.
Mirai serves as Chairperson of the global informal workers and policy-makers network, WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising), and on the Boards of several organizations, including the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Save the Children, PRADAN and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She was advisor to the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector and is in the Advisory Group on Community Action of the National Rural Health Mission. She was also a Commissioner in the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. In addition, she was a member of the High-Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage set up by the Planning Commission of India in 2010. She is a former member of the National Advisory Council (NAC), appointed by the Prime Minister of India in 2010. She was conferred the Global Achievement award by the School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. Mirai holds a bachelor in History and Science from Harvard University and a Master's in Health Sciences from Johns Hopkins University.