How Self-Help Groups in India Help Women Empower Other Women, Especially in Rural India?
Rural India is still plagued by social evils like dowry system, child marriage, caste system, domestic violence, alcoholism and the list is long. Most of the times, it is the rural women which suffer due to such evils prevailing in the society.
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Women are critical to a nation’s economic growth and in case of India, where still nearly 70 per cent of the population resides in villages, they become important for thriving rural economy too. However, it is sad to note that still most of the rural women are not treated equally and deprived of even some of their basic human rights. In such a scenario, Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) initiated nearly 32 years ago are doing all what they can do to empower women in rural India and are strongly acting as the multifaceted support system for them.
What is a Woman SHG?
A woman SHG is a grass-root level voluntary alliance wherein women belonging to same socio-economic strata of the society contribute a fixed amount for a particular time period until the group has enough capital to start its own lending process. These funds are then utilised for lending to other women to help and empower them through support, encouragement and financial assistance so as to allow them to achieve their personal and professional goals for a better future. Women SHG is therefore, a noble initiative in developing countries like India, especially for the upliftment and welfare of the women in the society.
Five ways through which women SHGs empower rural women
- Make rural women aware of their basic rights
Most of the time, rural women are exploited by their husbands, children and other family members and since they are uneducated and unaware as to whom to approach and how to safeguard their basic rights, they continue to suffer for long. Here, women SHGs become the torchbearers for such women and help them in getting educated and knowing their basic fundamental rights and laws.
- Help rural women in getting employment
The women SHGs’ play an instrumental role in arranging for various kinds of trainings for rural women relating to improved farming practices, livestock development, sewing, book keeping and general management. These trainings open up various employment opportunities for the rural women.
- Boost self-confidence and enhance social status
Doing something for the family monetary wise automatically builds the confidence in rural women. Not to forget, being financially independent also enhances the social status of the family to which the women belong and thus, this puts an end to many of the problems that they face.
- Increase community participation of the rural women
Not only women SHGs educate the rural women but also increase their community participation. They help the rural women in knowing their right to vote and even motivate them to take part in the local governance and village development process. This also goes a long way in empowering the rural women.
- Spreads awareness about social issues
Rural India is still plagued by social evils like dowry system, child marriage, caste system, domestic violence, alcoholism and the list is long. Most of the times, it is the rural women which suffer due to such evils prevailing in the society. Thus, SHGs take the task of eliminating these evils very seriously. For that, the first thing they do is promote girl child education as educated women can bring a positive change in the society. The other task they do is conducting campaigns and meetings with the families of the rural women to bring about a change in the thinking of the men. Through these steps, women SHGs indirectly help in empowering the rural women.
Apart from the above, the women SHGs’ role in empowering rural women is vast and multifaceted. Truly, women SHGs possess incredible potential for promoting the growth of not just rural women but boost the complete socio-economic development scenario in rural India. They can definitely help the rural women to reach a new high where there is no discrimination done to them at all!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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