SELF-HELP GROUPS AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN INDIA: SOME REFLECTIONS
Empowerment is basically a multidimensional project with components such as economic, social, political, cultural and psychological. It is not a linear process but an entangled web with one leading to the other or facilitating the other levels of empowerment. The SHG experiment was initiated with the aim of participatory development and paving the way for the poor to not just take control of their lives and choices but also to operate as proactive agents in the sphere of decision making on their life-choices.
As is known, the goals of poverty eradication and empowerment of women can be effectively achieved if poor women are involved in group for community participation as well as for assertion of their rights and social status. The organization of self Help groups could be either based on trade or locality. Proper training is essential for building the organizations of the poor women. If they were properly given the essential training by providing credit and financial assistance, they will strive to defend their family requirements and they will effectively defend their rights. By mobilizing, concientising and organizing them through a participatory process. This would enable them to participate in various programmes as effective partners and articulate their hopes and aspirations. In India, various voluntary organisations. The development process has given women not only a new sense of dignity and confidence to tackle their problems with a sense of solidarity to work together but also a measure of economic independence. It helped them to improve their living conditions and acquire small assets. It has also been demonstrated that the poor women’s creativity, group dynamics and self-management are major elements in tackling the gender and equity issues.
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