In rural and semi-urban areas of India, women generally end up becoming financially dependent on men, and vulnerable to domestic violence. This is primarily because their contributions to the family’s income or the local economy are not acknowledged. Eventually, women are left grappling with these issues throughout their lifetimes. Umpteen factors like early marriage, low literacy rates and gender bias only end up aggravating the problem. 

In light of this socio-economic problem, Coca-Cola and its bottling partners initiated a campaign called ‘5by20’ with an aim to enhance the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across 6 segments of its value chain by 2020. By focusing on equipping them with employable skills, the project has gradually helped women build confidence, enabling them to be the ones leading change in their communities and nations. Women bloggers from around the world, who have addressed issues concerning women, visited many areas of Coca-Cola plant establishments across India to calculate the success and the future scope of potential of the 5by20 projects, in 2014. 

Several 5by20 initiatives have been launched and gained momentum the world over with time. One such environment-friendly innovation developed by the Company, was the eKOCool Solar Cooler initiative, which helped women retailers sell chilled beverages without ice or electricity. Another blogger observed how Self-Help Clubs made women financially independent, through a structured process of ‘microlending’ and ‘microsaving.’

A sewing centre at Goblej Village was boosting women’s income levels significantly by simply by streamlining the process. ‘Splash Bar’ is one more such inspiring story. Selling tiny ‘shots’ of Coca-Cola worth Rs.3 at mobile kiosks have created entrepreneurs out of the women of some villages. The visiting bloggers reinstated that more of such simple, yet innovative solutions were the key to improving the quality of life of these women.

The uplifting of women through their emancipation has been the motto of the 5by20 campaign throughout the years. Increased opportunities for generating income have helped in the emergence of women entrepreneurs and leaders. At the same time, projects like Self-Help Clubs and Splash Bar have helped accelerate the development of their communities. The visit by the women bloggers have thus helped the 5by20 team leaders analyse the efficacy of the existing initiatives, besides aiding in better planning to achieve their goal.