Remembering Ladies’s World Banking Founding Member Ela Bhatt


We’re deeply saddened by the information of the passing of Ms. Ela Ramesh Bhatt, an iconic chief and a Founding Member of Ladies’s World Banking. Elaben (“ben” which means “ sister”), as she was recognized, was a real trailblazer in advancing girls’s empowerment and monetary inclusion – first in India, and finally all over the world.

Throughout her time as a instructor and a lawyer early in her profession in Ahmedabad, Elaben realized that self-employed girls have been routinely denied lots of the rights that she noticed males exercising to develop their livelihoods. After working with a broad vary of low-income girls throughout Ahmedabad to assist them safe truthful wages and construct pathways out of poverty, Elaben shaped the Self Employed Ladies’s Affiliation (SEWA) in 1972, an iconic group that has labored for 50 years to assist girls entry the monetary instruments and sources they should construct safer, affluent, and fulfilling lives. Along with different luminaries together with Michaela Walsh, Esther Ocloo and Mary Okelo, Elaben went on to function a Founding Member of Ladies’s World Banking from its creation in 1979, serving as its Board Chair after which as an Honorary Member of the Board for Life.


Elaben’s imaginative and prescient and management within the subject of ladies’s empowerment and poverty alleviation is justly famend. Amongst different prestigious recognitions, she was honored with the Ramon Magsasay Award for Neighborhood Management ; the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards by the Authorities of India; the 4 Freedoms Award by the Authorities of the Netherlands; the Niwano Peace Prize; the Radcliffe Medal; the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace; and honorary doctorates from Harvard College, Georgetown College, and Brussels College. Elaben was a member of the Indian Parliament (and the primary feminine member of its Planning Fee); of the Board of the Reserve Financial institution of India; and of The Elders, the group of world leaders convened by Nelson Mandela to deal with among the world’s most intractable issues, the place she targeted notably on problems with equality for ladies and ladies.

Although Elaben stands as a real legend within the fields of ladies’s empowerment and monetary inclusion, she was recognized by her admirers in Ladies’s World Banking and past as an exceptionally compassionate chief. As many have famous, Elaben was aptly known as the “Mild Revolutionary” for her distinctive mix of humility and boldness; regardless of her private modesty, she was a real drive of nature in advancing a extra affluent and equitable world for ladies in all places.

There are 14 million extra financially included and empowered girls on the planet right this moment since Elaben based Ladies’s World Banking. We mourn Elaben’s passing along with the numerous different beneficiaries of her time, management, and knowledge. As we bear in mind Elaben, we have a good time her unbelievable legacy, and look to honor her by persevering with to advance Ladies’s World Banking’s mission of empowering low-income girls with monetary instruments and sources internationally.

We invite you to recollect Elaben in her personal phrases with us by watching these remarks she shared with our International Group the final time she visited our headquarters in New York.


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