Role of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Women Empowerment and Poverty Elimination (with special reference to Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, India)

Smriti Ashish Pathak, Naresh C Jain


Micro financing through Self Help Groups (SHGs) has transferred the real economic power in the hands of women. Self Help Groups (SHGs) represent a unique approach to financial intermediation or micro - credit. It is a small group of 10 – 20 women who pool in money and start a corpus. Nearly 70 % of Indian population resides in villages and among them 48% are women. SHGs provide micro – loans to women member which helps them to become self dependent. It also serves as community platform for women to become active in village affairs, stand for local election or take action to address social or community issues (the abuse of women, alcohol, the dowry system, schools and water supply). The paper highlights a few initiatives by public and private organizations to help SHGs in their growth and development.

The 'Reading to Learn Program' initiated by Fair & Lovely Foundation and Pratham in the rural districts of Nashik and Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) was aimed at children between the age group of 6 to 14 years to enhance their reading, comprehension and arithmetic skills. Women in Satara district in Maharashtra run a bank and a B-school successfully. Founded by Chetna Gala Sinha, the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank was formed with the active participation of illiterate, rural women in 1997. The money was collected by efforts of 500 rural women. It is India's first rural financial institution to receive a cooperative license from the Reserve Bank of India. The institute trained women members to read and write and give training in basic finance. The paper tries to explain help of SHGs in women empowerment and poverty elimination with the help of case lets. The effective government, bank and NGO participation will make women empowerment a reality and eradicate poverty completely.


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