Self help groups [SHGs] are small voluntary association of the rural women from the same socio-economic background who work together for the purpose of solving their problems through self help and mutual help. The women organize themselves at the grass root level to find innovative solutions to the specific problems which develops self esteem, self reliance and self confidence among them. It is the need of the hour to analyze the activities of the SHGs. Hence a study was done at Kerala, India, with the aim to assess the role of Self Help Groups in empowering rural women and to identify the major constraints faced by women. Kollam, a traditional industrial district in Kerala was selected for the study. Twenty four Government. SHGs and 24 Non governamental SHGs, comprising of groups with enterprises and without enterprises were identified. 480 women members formed the experimental group and 237 rural women, who are not members of SHG, were the control group. Appropriate tools were used to conduct the study. Self Help Groups without enterprises were found to be less empowered ,socially and economically than those with enterprises Governemnt and non-government SHGs showed significance difference in economic,social and political role.The study revealed that micro-enterprises are a viable pathway for improving the economic status.Independent variables like education, income and mass media contact were positively and significantly related with the role of SHGs. Hesitation to take up innovative scheme, difficulty in playing dual role by women,lack of confidence ,team spirit, effective leadership, managerial skills,working capital and transportation were found to be the major constraints faced by SHGs.
|Keywords:||Rural Women, Empowerment, Self Help Groups|
Assosiate Professor, Krishi Vigyan Kendra Kottarakkara, Kerala Agricultural University, Kollam, Kerala, India
Reader in Homescience, Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
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