Gender and Empowerment:
'Gender' refers to the roles and responsibilities of women and men that are created in our families, our societies and our cultures.
(Source: ABC of Women Worker's Rights and Gender Equality, ILO, Geneva, 2000)

In its broadest sense, 'Empowerment' is the expansion of freedom of choice and action. It means increasing one's authority and control over the resources and decisions that affect one's life.

Utthan works on this aspect withaperspective of gender equality and justice, as women and marginalized communities face the maximum consequences of negative socio-political and environmental processes, due to exclusion and violation of their human rights. However, they do have the strength and power to change this situation, thus confirming that women's empowerment and their full partnership on basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation on the decision-making and access to power are fundamental for achievement of equality, development and peace.

The major thrust of this program has been on ensuring gender equality, exercising gender rights, building collective strength, gender sensitization and mainstreaming it in all the initiatives.

Utthan has also made a conscious effort to influence other formal and informal institutional structures and mechanisms that affect the lives of thousands of women and vulnerable communities.

Utthan has tried to build upon this aspect in the following ways:
- Building women's institutions to initiate a grassroots women's movement
- Strengthening women's participation in governance through Panchayati Raj.
- Providing access to safe, reliable and sufficient water, sanitation and hygiene.
- Improving community's health status and women's reproductive health rights.
- Encouraging savings, credit and income generation activities for economic empowerment.
- Building women and vulnerable community's access to resources, land and property ownership and rights
- Mainstreaming gender just perspective in all possible institutions and programs.