A conceptual framework on self-help groups & economic empowerment of rural women
Dr. KK Sabarirajan
This paper has been executed to answer if the women that join a Self-Help Group are more empowered than the ones that are not members of any group. It starts understanding that women's empowerment refers to the process by which those who have been denied the ability to make strategic life choices acquire such an ability. In order to achieve this empowerment, financial assistance is being provided to women’s SHGs as a powerful instrument for poverty alleviation to increase their well-being, their access to resources and credit, their self-confidence, self-esteem and their creditability in all aspects of life. A Self-Help Group is a voluntary and self-managed group of poor women belonging to similar socio-economic conditions who save a certain amount contributing to a common fund from which small loans are given to the members for meeting their productive and emergent needs. This model emerged in the 1980s and 1990s with the support of the government of India, state governments, National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the banking sector and NGOs and it has spread in the entire country especially in rural areas where 70% of India’s 1.2 billion population live without access to productive assets and financial resources, with high levels of illiteracy, inadequate health care and limited access to social services.