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Home » MBA Articles » MBA - Entrepreneurship Articles » Rural Women Empowerment in India

Rural Women Empowerment in India

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of women
that will have lasting impacts must involve
consciousness raising before the social construction of gender, which
subordinates women in the family, class, caste, religion, or society,
can be changed. The economic empowerment
approach has relied on improving women's control over
economic resources and strengthening women's economic security. The
results also suggest that policies to rise women's age at marriage,
enhance their educations and open greater
employment opportunities will also help to empower them,
at least in some respects. Our goal is to cause policy, institutional
and individual change that will improve the lives of women and girls

also ratified various international conventions and
human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights of women. The
Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the
State to adopt measures of positive
discrimination in favor of women. Women's empowerment is
an important agenda in the development efforts. There has been
significant shift in approach of the district administration towards the
development of women, especially the
poor & the illiterate. When you train a woman, you
help the entire family, the village and the nation.

The current paper focuses on women's empowerment in the domestic sphere—that is, their freedom from control by
other family members and ability to effect desired outcomes within the house hold.


is a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and multi-layered concept.
empowerment is a process in which women gain greater
share of control over resources - material, human and intellectual like
knowledge, information, ideas and financial resources like money - and
access to money and control over
decision-making in the home, community, society and
nation, and to gain `power'.

to the Country  Report of Government of India, "Empowerment means
moving from a position of enforced powerlessness
to one of power".The process by which people,
organisations or groups who are powerless a) become aware of the power
dynamics at work in their life context, b) develop the skills and
capacity for gaining some
reasonable control over their lives and c) exercise this
control without infringing on the rights of others and d) support the
empowerment of others in the community


women is the most powerful instrument of changing their
position the society. Education also brings about reduction in
inequalities and also acts as a means to improve their status within the
family. In order to encourage education
of women at all levels and to dilute gender bias in the
provision and acquaintance of education, schools, colleges and even
universities were established exclusively for women in the State. To
bring more girl children, especially
from marginalized BPL families, into the main stream of
education, Government has been providing a package of concessions in the
form of free supply of books, uniform, boarding and lodging, clothing
for hostilities, mid-day meals,
scholarships, free by-cycles and so on. As a result
women's literacy rate has grown over the three decades and the growth of
female literacy has in fact been higher than that of male literacy

Health and well-being

Health and well-being is
a concept related to the substantial differences between women and men
in their access to sufficient nutrition, healthcare and reproductive
facilities, and to issues of fundamental
safety and integrity of person. According to the World
Health Organization, 585,000 women die every year, over 1,600 every day,
from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. The complexity of the
social and cultural issues,
combined with the stigma and fear of disclosure lead to a
situation where only a small proportion of the crimes of sexual
assault, child abuse, wife battering and gun related violence are ever
reported, making accurate data
extremely difficult to obtain.


1. Limited access to resources (Land):

to assets is the single most urgent need for the
upliftment of women in general and farm women in
particular. Though the Indian legislation permits equal right of man
& women in property yet the condition in actual sense is not so.
Rural women still do not have ownership on
land and the pattas are allotted in the name of their
husband. Due to this the cannot take independent decision on various
agricultural aspects. Therefore, concerted efforts are needed to promote
women access to resources.For
promoting women's access to land, the measures can be-

  • distribution of land to the landless women should also be included in the existing Govt.,

  • Policies on distribution of joint pattas to husband & wife and

  • Short term operational ownership of land female farmers while giving land on leasing may be arranged.

2. Limited access to input & credit:

women make substantial contributors to agriculture development, their
access to the most crucial input credit is limited. Since they are not
land owners,
the credit flow generally goes in the name of male
members (i.e. owners). For promoting women's access to farm input &
credit, following measures may be taken:

  • Credit flow to rural women could be channeled through credit & thrift societies.
  • Voluntary agencies in each district may be identified which could help in developing women organizations.
  • Credit organizations should simplify the
    procedures & modalities to suit the educational level of rural women
    & also organize credit camps in village exclusively for women.
  • Farm women should also be recipient of credit for which possession of assets may not be insisted upon.
  • Existing loaning policies of NABARD need orientation towards women credit eligibility by granting them the status of a producer.

3. Inadequate technical competency:

women are involved in almost all agricultural operations, yet, they
have inadequate technical competency due to their limited exposure to
outside world. This
has compelled them to follow the age old practices which
in turn result in poor work efficiency and drudgery.Training is an
important component of HRD which enhances knowledge, skill and attitude.
For building technical competency
among farm women, specialized need based and skill
oriented training should be organized preferably at village level. Some
of the priority areas in which women need training are:

  • Conservation and management of natural resources
  • IPM and INM
  • Renewable energy sources
  • Seed production technology
  • Use of fertilizer
  • Post-harvest management

For effective training programmes, following points should be considered.

i) Extension agencies should pursue the family approach to training

ii) Training should be organized at appropriate time specially the pre- seasonal training.

There should be proper followed-up of the programmes and there should
be synchronization in time between knowledge and skill transfer
and the supply credit and other inputs needed to apply
the knowledge.

iv)  During training, the training institute should
identify the active participants and intensive training should be
imparted to them so that they can be
used as a Opara-extension workers for dissemination of
technical information.

4. Poor participation in decision making :

decision regarding the activities requiring technical competency and
money related matters were taken by male members. Since
knowledge and economic independence are the parameters of women
empowerment enhancing the technical knowledge, skills and building
greater involvement in various farm

5. Poor existing Research and Extension System No or Poor gender consideration:

several technological breakthrough have been observed in the recent
past the technologies by the
researchers are not tailored to the specific needs of
the farm women. With the result, most of the agricultural operations are
performed manually and in an unskilled manner which results into
greater drudgery on the part of farm
women. In order to cater to the technological needs of
the farm women, there is need to re-orient the entire research system
for which following measures may be taken.

In order to make
scientific information in agriculture
and skill areas more useful, it should be tested and
refined keeping in view the different farming situations in
socio-cultural milieu. It would lead to women specific technologies.

of the tasks and operations
which women are specifically involved and which are
drudgery prone include transplanting, weeding, harvesting, threshing,
winnowing etc. Therefore, these require special attention of the farm
scientist for evolving relevant
technologies or modifying the existing ones.

design, development and testing of agricultural implements and machinery
should be undertaken with the active participation of rural women. In
this regard with local artisans
will be helpful. In essence machinery should be a
blessing rather than become a curse.

While evolving agricultural
technologies; indigenous practices used by women should be paid due
attention for blending with the frontier ones
for greater adoption.

6. Limited exposure to mass media :

transfer of technology approach which mainly includes mass media are
also not paying due attention towards dissemination of adequate and
agricultural information to the farm women.


Against the background of the patriarchal system of society, the women need special attention to ensure their development
and participation in the decision making process at home, in the community and governance.

With the objective of bringing about economic and social development of women and improving their status in the community the
programme for Women Development was being implemented by CSR in and around Tiruchendur of Tuticorin district and Thovalai blocks of Kanyakumari District.

The various activities planned and carried out are:

  • Formation and Training of Self Help Groups
  • Group Development
  • Capacity Building
  • Income Generation Activities
  • Credit and Savings Mobilisation
  • Establishment of linkages

These activities had made impressive
impacts in empowering women and improving their economic and social
status in their families and communities.

The thrust
of the programme is organising women and
federating them at different level to enhance their
social status. Due to the entrepreneur development skills promoted, the
women took up various income generating activities as individuals and as
a group such as mat weaving, dairy
farms, palm crystal candy making, flour rice, fancy
shops, petty shops, soap manufacturing, textile business and paper cup.
So far 58 groups are involved in income generating activities and 3173
individuals have taken up income
generating programmes.

The federation
of women SHGs called 'Sangamam' was formed by the members themselves
based on their own experience and the exposure they received. It decided
to start a supermarket and a building
was constructed. As a share of Rs.10,000 was collected
from each SHGs by the federation. All the SHG members buy the
provisionary items from their own Sangamam store and steps are taken to
distribute the items at their door steps
through vans. The federation has assumed maximum
responsibilities and there is ample scope that soon it will become fully
self sustaining entity.

Tejaswini Rural Women's Empowerment Programme

Tejaswini means radiance or one who gives light, and
reflects the objective of the project in moving women to a higher level
through their collective efforts and mutual assistance. This would
up-scale and further develops the
concepts tested in the Maharashtra Rural Credit
Programme, which IFAD supported from 1994 to 2002

Programme Target Group

programme will use lessons drawn from previous IFAD implementation
experience, which suggests targeting in terms of poverty
should be flexible and responsive to local conditions. In Maharashtra
the programme would support existing groups and groups that will be
formed by other programmes (in
particular TSP, SCP). In Madhya Pradesh (MP) it is
planned that at least 10% of groups being formed of women from the
poorest households defined in terms of relying on casual labour and
without any agricultural land.Programme Area.

In supporting the overalldevelopment
of MAVIM, the programme will cover all 33 rural districts of
Maharashtra, and about 10,000 villages out of the total of 43,000.
However the activities to be funded by the programme
will tend to concentrate on the 16 tribal districts and
other backward areas.

The programme would be implemented in six
districts of MP. These include the three districts in the
tribal-dominated south-east of the state (Balaghat,
Dindori, Mandla) and three other districts (Panna,
Chhattarpur and Tikangarh) in the north-east of the state. Although
these districts are not as poor, gender indicators show women are worse


Though they make half of the world population, women
have remained as an oppressed group from the beginning of the history.
Though some societies regard women as superior in the family and
community, most of societies of the world
have been treating women as second class citizens.
Because of religious and cultural values and physical structure, women
are forced to remain as dominated group around the globe, especially in
the least developed nations. There is
a solid evidence of discrimination of women worldwide.
Even in the most developed nations which boast the best human rights
situation in their country, women's participation in almost fields has
been minimized because of male
dominance. In many countries, women are kept as
'prisoners' as they are not allowed to participate many social and
political activities.

In a stratified society like ours, access
and empowerment of different section of the
societies are becoming serious concerns and to address
it planners, managers, social scientist all over the world have started
deliberating and devising way out like anything. In this direction
genders issues are dominating over
other vulnerable issues like poverty, class conflicts,
communities, ethnic issues etc. In ensuring an egalitarian development
gender equity still remains as a pertinent question as it has been for
the thousands of years of human

Gender issues beyond its
epistemological certainly imbibe other components like production
relation, access to education, geographical distribution, occupational
imperatives, marital system and even physical &
physiological weaknesses.

The present deliberation
will go contextual with the realm of women's empowerment in sustainable
agriculture development. The sustainability of agriculture development
has become a prerogative to the
women's participation moving across the caste. Our need
is to ascertain and assure the areas where women are still far from
enjoying the minimum privileges and question of empowerment has been
thrown to a very complex, integrated
situation the access to resources, institution, decision
making process and information etc. are the pertinent question in
making the women empowered, confident, and accorded to the main stream
social processes.


Adick (1995) : Basic Education for Women and girls in rural areas; Agriculture and Rural Development. 2 :

Awasthi, O. N. (1993) : Education Development in India, Journal of Education and Social Change 7 : 1.

Gopalan, S. (1992). Monitoring and Evaluation of the training programmes for women, function areas in rural Development.

Hernader (1993) : Cultural contributions as a complement
to economic incentives for people involve in sustainable development
project un rural areas; Landscape and Urban Planning,

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