Nurses—Making a Difference in Global Health

Nurse Stories:  Promote gender equality and empower women

The Comprehensive Rural Health Project: Jamkhed ( has been helping to empower and engage rural women for almost 40 years and the results of their investment is demonstrated in the following prose about the uplifting of the status of women in rural Maharashtra, India.

The Women of India

By: Lee Mantini

I am a woman of India, oppressed and poor. I live in fear. I cook, I clean, I wash. I entertain my husband and care for our children. I am a marginalized woman of India.

I am a woman of India. I cannot read or write but I can think. I listen, I watch, I learn. I try and I can do. I am a changing woman of India.

I am a woman of India. I am not alone. In Jamkhed, I meet with women from other villages. In my village I help form a woman’s group. One branch is weak; several branches bound together are strong. We are the organized women of India.

We are women of India. We represent our villages and receive training. We know how to keep our villages healthy. We know about the importance of safe drinking water and clean living spaces. We know how to protect our environment. We know that the caste system is a barrier to village development. We know about our rights but do not become selfish. We give to others and care about others. We are the self-confident women of India.

We are women of India. We are respected members of our villages. We are role models and Village Health Workers. We share our new knowledge so others can learn to take care of themselves and their families. We teach and practice family planning. Our daughters are valuable. They go to school and often get better graded than our sons. Together we protect our daughters and ourselves. We are the empowered women of India.

We are women of India. We work with men’s groups to organize villagers and plant 100,000 trees. We teach men to promote health and they build wastewater channels, soak pits and toilets. We approach government officials and receive funding for small businesses. We earn wages and improve the lives of our families. We help those less fortunate than ourselves by providing low interest loans and food during droughts. We bring progress to our villages.

WE…are the proud women of India.

Author’s Contact Information

Lee Mantini RN, MHScN
Health and Development Consultant
RR3 Picton, Ontario Canada, K0K 2T0