Women Empowerment in Micro finance- Self help groups

*S.Gayathri Devi ** S.Rajesha

India that has contributed towards generating processes of empowerment for women. One is the 73rd and 74th amendments that make it mandatory for a one third reservation of seats in local self governing bodies, and the other the formation of self help groups of women around micro finance. This paper raises questions about the processes of empowerment generated under each of these interventions and also suggests synergistic linkages between the two. The major form of micro finance in India is that based on women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs), which are small groups of 10-20 members. These groups collect savings from their members and provide loans to them. However, unlike most Accumulating Savings and Credit Associations (ASCAs) found in several countries, these groups also obtain loans from banks and on-lend them to their members. By 2003, over 700,000 groups had obtained over Rs.20 billion in loans from banks benefiting more than 10 million people. Delinquencies on these loans are reported to be less than 5%. Savings in these groups is estimated to be at least Rs.8 billion, despite these considerable achievements, Sustainability of the SHGs has been suspect because several essential services required by the SHGs are provided free or at a significantly subsidized cost by organizations that have developed these groups. This paper mainly concentrates on the self help group formation around savings and credit in India

S. Gayathri Devi, Research scholar, Department of commerce, St. Joseph’s College, Trichy-2 S. Rajesha, Research scholar, Department of commerce, St. Joseph College, Trichy-2

. environmental protection. basketry. They have also proven that they can be better entrepreneurs and development managers in any kind of human development activities. rural women in India are provided credit and extension support for various production-oriented income generating activities. importance of education and better response for development schemes.sanitation and cleanliness. it is important and utmost necessary to make rural women empowered in taking decisions to enable them to be in the central part of any human development process. gem cutting. "Women self-help groups are increasingly being used as tool for various developmental interventions. The SHG approach has proved successful not only in improving the economic conditions through income generation but in creating awareness about health and hygiene. A self-help group is conceived as a sustainable people's institution that provides the poor rural women with space and support necessary for them to take effective steps towards achieving greater control of their lives. It is also widely recognized that apart from managing household. bee keeping. Through organizing informal self-help groups (SHGs).Introduction: "In most of the developing countries today.. These activities usually include garment making. Women self-help groups One of the powerful approaches to women empowerment and rural entrepreneurship is the formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) especially among women. Credit and its delivery through self-help groups have also been taken as a means for empowerment of rural women. bearing children. The empowerment of women also considered as an active process enabling women to realize their full identity and power in all spheres of life. Therefore. and knitting etc . embroidery. more and more emphasis is laid on the need for development of women and their active participation in the main stream of development process. This strategy had fetched noticeable results not only in India but all over the world. weaving. rural women bring income with productive activities ranging from traditional work in the fields to working' in factories or running small and petty businesses. food processing.

rural women organized themselves into ‘thrift and credit’ groups with one rupee saving a day and this mass movement. Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women Limitless (TNCDW) will offer financial assistance to the women. aims at providing social security services to the poor in rural areas. A unique feature of the insurance cover is that all claims are settled within hours. After training the women on basic computing skills besides operating photocopiers and fax15 machines.. SHG members are entering the arena of health. these women from SHGs have turned direct-to-home distributors of a range of HLL products and helping the company plump hitherto unexplored rural area. in which 58 lakh members saved more than Rs.Other Major initiatives for women empowerment in India. microfinance institutions help level the playing field and promote gender. HLL’s Project Shakti . there was no channel of investment. ‘Gangai Vattara Kalanjia Mutuals’ – a mutual trust. As a new venture. By putting financial resources in the hands of women. On an average the shakti entrepreneur is earning a return of 8%. sans much of the paper work.800 crore is rotated internally and lend amongst members twice in a year as per the interest rates fixed by the groups. In the women’s savings movement.Through a combination of micro-credit and training in enterprise management. The ambitious vision of this project is to create by 2010 about 11000 shakti entrepreneurs covering one lakh villages and touching the lives of 100 million rural consumers. By targeting of women by microfinance programs is that microfinance is an effective means or entry point for empowering women. To get started the shakti women borrows from her SHG and the company itself chooses only one person. Now HLL has provided a window of opportunity to invest and earn. Importance of Micro finance Micro Finance (MF) at the surface level appears to deliver the holy trinity of ‘out reach’ impact’ and ‘sustainability’ making the development sector excited particularly in the process of attacking poverty. While the savings was there among the SHGs. : Since women are supposed to be good . SHGs took an important step towards financial independence by attending 12-day training programme on setting up information kiosks. especially in identifying hearing impaired persons by joining hands with project shakti of HLL and affordable hearing aid project centre.

It increased economic role and also status within households and communities. Current debates have been preoccupied with setting interest rates high enough to cover the costs of service provision. The paper shows the higher levels of empowerment of client households in terms of larger enterprises. thus increasing incomes and assets and control over these incomes and assets. micro finance is seen as a tool to empower women. This flexibility had a positive impact on both repayment and incomes and also encouraged borrowers to take a more strategic approach towards loan use. leading to greater wellbeing for women and children as well as men. social and political empowerment. Groups can support women in disputes within the household and community. savings and the feeling of self-esteem. an empowerment approach needs to go further and require any assets purchased with loans to be registered in women’s names. Access to savings and credit can initiate or strengthen a series of interlinked and mutually reinforcing ‘virtuous spirals’ of empowerment. equally as important are repayment schedules and methods of interest calculation. both as insurance against default and as a . • • • • It may increase their role in economic decision making in the household. Links between microfinance and women's empowerment are viewed as optimistic and limited by designing cost effective in eliminating poverty.credit risks and women-run enterprises benefit their families. However. Microfinance programmes have significant potential for contributing to women’s economic. increases in personal income and household food consumption. can make an important contribution to women’s empowerment. as compared to non-client households. when properly designed. Micro finance and Women Empowerment Microfinance programs. It vary between context and type of programme In some group women preferred fixed rates which they could calculate themselves. These have a critical impact on women’s ability both to profitably use loans and to control the loans and incomes. Women can use savings and credit for economic activity. Women can access wider information and support networks for economic activity. Conditions of microfinance delivery The main consideration is financial self sustainability and the poverty targeting.

Einstein says. Considering the significant qualitative aspects of empowerment this seemed to ring true while selecting a methodology for studying women’s empowerment as a result of their participation in Self Help Group. Choices will vary across class. markets. the concepts related with it differ and standards yardsticks for logically measuring changes in empowerment are uniformly accepted.means of increasing women’s control over assets. Conclusion There are many studies that provide insights into the impacts of Micro-credit and Micro finance on poverty alleviation and the empowerment of women. land acquisition or other productive assets such as rickshaws. Moreover. In particular. state and community. How women exercise choice and the actual outcomes will depend on the individuals. impacts on empowerment perceived by outsiders might not necessarily be those most valued by women themselves. . It also pay a way to improve the standard of living through microfinance towards women empowerment and poverty eradication. Some of the notable studies were ‘Towards Women’s Empowerment And Poverty Reduction: These studies concluded that there is a linear relationship between the three Collective strategies beyond micro-credit to increase the empowerments of the poor women enhance their exchange outcomes vis-à-vis the family. Empowerment cannot be reduced to a single aspect of process or outcome. In other words. and sociocultural and political spaces are required for both poverty reduction and women empowerment. There could also be a requirement for men’s loans to be registered in joint names. it is the ability to make and carry out significant decisions affecting one’s own life. Measuring empowerment Although women’s empowerment is extensively acknowledged as a vital aim in development. time and space. there are measurement problems in capturing social change because of the unpredictability of human nature. “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted”. This is particularly the case with larger loans for house purchase.

. ‘Key issues in women’s access to and use of credit in the micro. IFAD microfinance Project – India Chapter. Erhard W. Kropp. 2. in L. 23 4. Networks of Panchayat Women. Dr. Dr. Yamini Aiyar. L. Nov. 1995.REFERENCES: 1.S. 2000. Dignard and J. & Suran. ‘Microfinance and the empowerment of women: A review of the key issues’. Civil Society Space for Political Action.and small-scale sector’. 5 Behar Amitabh. Social Finance Unit Working Paper. November 2002 2. Mayoux.. Women in micro. EPW Commentary. IFAD.and smallscale enterprise development. September 2003 3. B. Economic and Political Weekly. IT Publications London. Berger. Have. 2003. M. Linking Banks and (Financial) Self Help Groups in India – An Assessment.

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