Self-help group (SHG) is a small, economically homogeneous and affinity group of poor people that helps its members save some money in a common fund and meets the emergency needs of the members by providing collateral free and low interest loans on terms decided by the group. This paper intends to examine: 1) the extent of economic, social and political empowerment of women through Participation in SHG activities, and 2) the relationship between the level of participation of women SHG members and economic, social and political effectiveness of Self-help Groups,. Adopting a survey method, and using a structured interview schedule modeled before the Likert’s summative scale, we studied 353 women SHG members (a sample selected by the joint method of multistage and simple random sampling method) and analyzed the result applying Chi-Square, Correlation, ANOVA and Regression. In the first section, our findings suggest that increasing level of participation in SHG brings for its members better employment opportunities, better income, stabilization of old jobs, and entrepreneurial skills, which together we call economic empowerment. The second section reveals that increased level of participation in SHG brings for its members more household decision making power, better health facilities, increased self-confidence & self-esteem, capacity building and financial literacy (which are all indicators of social empowerment). The third section divulges that level of participation in SHG is positively and significantly associated with the community mobilization and political participation of members (that we term as political empowerment). The quantitative results have been triangulated with the qualitative findings obtained through observation and case studies.
|Journal||3rd ISA Foruma of Sociology|