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Virginia Henderson International Nursing e-Repository > Schools of Nursing > Diverse Dissertation Submissions (Abstracts-only) > SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF SELF-HELP GROUPS IN IMPROVING WOMEN’S HEALTH AND EMPOWERMENT

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Type: Thesis
It is assumed by various scholars and policy makers that economic empowerment of women leads to social empowerment also and this empowerment will be automatically translated to other field of development and issues related with women viz., their health, education, autonomy, income inequality, power balance, decision-making within family, intra-family violence, gender discrimination, and social status etc.

There is another group of scholars who do not consider SHGs as a solution to tackle poverty. They think that SHGs can be used as a strategy for local level interventions and development, but it cannot be adopted as a strategy for women empowerment and community development. According to this view, economic benefits may not necessarily empower women economically and socially and that women empowerment cannot be achieved by denying adequate environment like infra-structure, services and facilities. They argue that socio-economic and political conditions have greater impact on realization and achievement of empowerment by the women. Without addressing these developmental issues and challenging the social structures, it is not possible to achieve empowerment of women.

The paper reviews and explores the scope and limitations of self-help groups in improving women’s health and empowerment focusing on empirical work undertaken in one of the Indian States. The paper explores the implications of empowerment on health; it’s inter-relationship with economic benefit, empowerment, development, and other inter-related factors.

The findings of the study are based on field surveys, interviews, focus group discussions, and select case studies on sample of two hundred women self-help group members in Patna district of Bihar. Both, qualitative and quantitative analysis were done, which critically explores the linkages between SHGs, women empowerment and their health. This paper, it is hoped will help in understanding the debate whether SHGs can be used as an effective strategy of empowerment and to improve women’s health and well-being.

The paper concludes that it is the Government’s, the international donor community’s and the World Bank’s euphoria that SHGs can be used as strategy or tool for enhancing women’s empowerment and eradicating poverty. The data and findings of the study do not support this assumption and argument. No doubt, it may have impact, but the data and findings of the study show that without understanding and addressing the socio-economic context and developmental issues, it is not possible to achieve the target of eradicating poverty and empowering women. The data and findings also do not support the assumption that economic empowerment will also be automatically translated into other spheres of women’s life such as health, autonomy, income inequality, power balance, decision-making within family, gender discrimination, and social status. The paper concludes that by denying these basic infrastructures, facilities and enabling social, cultural and economic environment, it is not possible to empower women economically and socially. Thus, there is need to promote overall development of women, contextualize the programmes and promote participation of beneficiaries in planning and implementation of these programmes.
Research Data

Ending Year:2006
Study Type:Thesis
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Repository Posting Date: 2011-10-27T22:02:49Z
Date of Publication: 2006
Appears in Collections: Diverse Dissertation Submissions (Abstracts-only)

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