Does Micro-Credit Empower Women through Self-Help Groups? Evidence from Punjab, Northern India

Mansour Esmaeil Zaei, Prachi Kapil, Olha Pelekh, Azadeh Teimoury Nasab
2018 Societies  
The goal of this paper is to examine the question-'Does income earned by members of women's self-help groups (SHGs) through micro-credit programs empower them?' The nature of the topic dictates the use of cross-sectional survey technique and comparative analysis to determine the levels of women empowerment before and after joining SHGs. A five-point Likert-type scale was developed, for which Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficient was observed to be 0.824. The survey instrument contained four
more » ... ections, namely, income and expenditure; savings and borrowing amounts; financial freedom; and, capacity building and awareness levels. A sample group consisting of 114 participants of SHGs responded to the survey instrument. The t-test results for mean values before and after joining SHGs showed a significant change in levels of women empowerment in all the four areas. The prime reason for this empowerment was joining SHGs and using micro-credit programmes. It becomes apparent from this research that joining SHGs, and consequently, getting access to financial services increased the ability of poor women to control their savings and generate income from their occupation. They also experienced a greater decision-making role in their families and in local society, enhanced levels of self-confidence, self-efficacy and self-esteem, and heightened freedom of mobility to increase business and social activities outside home.
doi:10.3390/soc8030048 fatcat:spp3wtubs5fzhkrdfhyscih3xm