The book has a forward note by the President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee. In his brief note Mr Mukherjee says that empowerment of women must be regarded as not only an element of our efforts towards gender equality but also a critical step for stimulating their full participation in nation building.
Talking to Indian Cooperative Mrs Arunachalam sounded ecstatic on the publication of this book. It has been the fruit of my labour for past 35 years among the vulnerable groups. “Destitution to Leadership is based on the works and programmes of WWF among the vulnerable groups in various national as well as international journals”, she added.
The Preface has been written by Justice Mohan who pays glowing tributes to Jaya Arunachalam. He says emancipation of women is an arduous task in a country like ours where women are shackled by religious and social taboos. What is more admirable is the ceaseless and untiring work of Dr Jaya Arunachaalam, who is a crusader in this noble task.
A frail octogenarian and a Padmashree Jaya Arunachalam walks through the corridors of power and coaches government on the importance of micro financing. She has single handed established a huge network of micro financing in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra.
A lady to reckon with, her frail figure hardly hides her luminous eyes reflecting determination. She does get disappointed at times by the male chauvinist attitude of bureaucrats and some of the senior cooperators but her hope never leaves her. She has organized a grassroots trade union of working class women in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The unionized women are vendors and hawkers, other service specialists, fisherwomen, landless women, lace makers, beedi rollers, silk Weavers, agarbathi workers, embroidery workers, and several other working women. Recognized internationally, Mrs Arunachalam could be seen keeping company of Hillary Clinton and likes. Her Indian Co-operative Network for Women is serving the purpose of an informal banking system to meet the needs of poor women.