Reema Nanavaty
SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association)

Reema Nanavaty has been working with the SEWA since over 35 years expanding its membership to over 2.1 million members, making it the single largest union of informal sector women workers. Reema facilitated rebuilding lives and livelihoods of 60000 earthquake affected rural women and 40000 riot-affected members. She is leading the rehabilitation programs in Afghanistan, training over 5000 Afghani women on different Livelihood skills and facilitating them in setting-up their own local Association. Similarly, she has also led the rehabilitation program for war-affected widows in Srilanka; providing over 6000 women with vocational training in rural livelihood security.

Reema oversees 4813 self-help groups (SHG), 160 co-operatives and 15 economic federations, pan India including 16 states, and also in 7 South-Asian countries, focusing on women’s economic empowerment by building women owned enterprises, building women led supply chains, introducing modern ICT-based tools and facilitating Green-Energy initiatives and livelihoods. She was honored by Padma Shri (the fourth-highest civilian award in the Republic of India) for her contribution in area of Social Services in 2013. She is currently the member of the Advisory Council on Gender of the World Bank Group.

Reema Nanavaty was invited to the International Labour Organization’s High Level Global Commission on Future of Work as the only member representing the informal sector workers, women workers, self-employed workers and the rural workers’ union in the entire commission. She was also invited as a member of the working group for the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy and as a Gender lead in the Working group for the UN's Food System Summit, both convened by UN General Secretary in the UNGA, Sep 2021. Reema was also one of the only worker’s representative invited to speak alongside UN secretary General Antonio Gueteras in the Official Opening Ceremony of the UN’s Food Systems Summit 2021.

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