Our Members - The Self-Employed Women Workers

SEWA is the only national union of Women workers from the unorganized sector in India. SEWA membership consists or four types of self-employed workers.
SEWA’s members are workers who have no fixed employee-employer relationship and depend on their own labour for survival. They are poor, illiterate and vulnerable. They barely have any assets or working capital. But they are economically extremely active, contributing very significantly to the economy and society with their labour. 62% of GDP is accounted for by the self – employed of our country. There are Four types of self-employed women workers:

Hawkers and vendors

small business women like vegetable, fruit, fish, egg and other vendors of food items, and clothes vendors

Home-based workers

like weavers, potters, bidi and agarbatti workers, papad rollers, ready-made garment workers, women who process agricultural products and artisans.

Manual labourers & service providers

like agricultural labourers, construction workers, contract labourers, handcart pullers, head – loaders, domestic workers and laundry workers. In addition to these three categories there is emergence of another category of women workers.

Producers & Services

who invest their labour and capital to carry out their businesses. This category includes Agriculture, cattle rearers , salt workers, gum collectors, cooking & vending etc.

SEWA’s total membership across 16 states in India viz Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Assam, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Kashmir and Nagaland in year 2017 is 14,12,148.

Direct Membership of SEWA8,09,544
Affiliates Membership9,24,651
1Hawkers & Vendors10
2Home-based workers15
3Manual Labourerers Services Providers10
4Producers & Services10
1Gujarat 8,09,544
2 Madhya Pradesh5,51,250
3Uttar Pradesh1,41,658
6West Bengalq20,753
9Kerala 25,000
13Jammu – Kashmir3,200
16 Jharkhand4,189

For more details on SEWA’s activities in each of these states, please click on the name of

  • SEWA Gujarat
  • SEWA Madhya Pradesh (SEWA MP)
  • SEWA Uttar Pradesh
  • SEWA Delhi
  • SEWA Bihar
  • SEWA West Bengal
  • EWA Rajasthan
  • SEWA Uttarakhand
  • SEWA Kerala
  • SEWA Maharashtra
  • SEWA Assam
  • SEWA Meghalaya
  • SEWA Jammu- Kashmir – SEWA-e-Kashmir
  • SEWA Nagaland
  • SEWA Orissa
  • SEWA Jharkhand

Since SEWA is a national union, for national level activities, we have formed a SEWA National Council. The main activities of this council are to increase the spread of SEWA’s membership. run campaigns on issues of members that cut across a large number of memberships, and thus strengthen the union.

In addition to these, the council oversees activities like policy advocacy for resolutions passed by SEWA like Street Vendors Act, Mapping of unorganized sector workers to bring them visibility, Land Campaign, Seed bill, Home-based Workers Act etc. – thus, bringing voice, visibility and validity to informal sector workers at National and international level and being instrumental in framing worker friendly national and international policies.

Whenever SEWA starts its organizing activities in any new state, the members are registered directly under the SEWA National Union. The National Council provides guidance and peer-to-peer support till the member becomes strong enough to register and sustain its own local union. Once the local organization becomes capable of sustainably managing its union activities, it is registered into a local state level union and the local union becomes an affiliate of SEWA Nation Union.

On these lines, SEWA’s members in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Maharashtra and Delhi have registered their own local SEWA unions and these unions are affiliated with SEWA’s National Union.

The remaining 9 states have not yet registered their own local state level unions and hence in these states, members are registered under SEWA National Union directly.