Vol. 2, Issue 5 (2015)
Women empowerment through micro finance: A boon for development
Author(s): Naveesha Saharan
Abstract: Under the trickle down theory in the planning process it was expected that women will equally benefit along with men. This has been belied by actual development. The ninth plan document recognizes that inspite of development measures and constitutional legal guarantees- women have lagged behind in almost all sectors. In India, the emergence of liberalization and globalization in early 1990â€™s aggravated the problem of women workers in unorganized sectors from bad to worse as most of the women who were engaged in various self employment activities have lost their livelihood. Despite in tremendous contribution of women to the agriculture sector, their work is considered just an extension of household domain and remains non-monetised. Microfinance is emerging as a powerful instrument for poverty alleviation in the new economy. In India, Microfinance scene is dominated by Self Help Group (SHGs)-Bank Linkage Programme as a cost effective mechanism for providing financial services to the â€œUnreached Poorâ€ which has been successful not only in meeting financial needs of the rural poor women but also strengthen collective self help capacities of the poor, leading to their empowerment. Rapid progress in SHG formation has now turned into an empowerment movement among women across the country. Economic empowerment results in womenâ€™s ability to influence or make decision, increased self confidence, better status and role in household etc. Micro finance is necessary to overcome exploitation, create confidence for economic self reliance of the rural poor, particularly among rural women who are mostly invisible in the social structure. This paper puts forward how micro finance has received extensive recognition as a strategy for economic empowerment of women. This paper seeks to examine the impact of Micro finance with respect to poverty alleviation and socioeconomic empowerment of rural women. An effort is also made to suggest the ways to increase women empowerment.