Research proposal on Self Help Group and women empowerment in Orissa
The concept of women empowerment can be defined as a process by which women take control and ownership of their choices. The core elements of empowerment have been defined as agency, awareness of gendered power structures, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Empowerment can take place at a hierarchy of different levels – individual, household, community and societal – and is facilitated by providing encouraging factors and removing inhibiting factors. In this connection, Micro-finance with Self Help Groups (SHG) plays an effective role for promoting women empowerment.
It has been demonstrated that the provision of credit for the rural poor would result in significant productivity increases. The poor require a range of financial services, such as opportunities to safeguard earned income, or credit to enable them to maintain minimum levels of consumption throughout the year. The rural economies within which the majority of poor people live and work are characterized by numerous small transactions. Although the financial transactions are very small in magnitude for outsiders, they are an essential component of rural livelihoods. The strength of Self Help Group is its ability to unite growth and poverty agendas. There are many options that have the potential to reduce poverty, many that have the potential to increase the economic growth and profit making capacities. Self Help Groups is one of the options, which can reduce poverty and increase economic growth in sustainable manner in people centered approach. The innovation of Self Help Groups was not only to provide a range of financial products to the rural households but also to facilitate livelihood promotion and livelihood protection. To attain that level the Self Help Groups are to be empowered externally and internally. The empowerments of Self Help Groups are mainly dependent on the level of linkage with other institutions, organizations and individuals. The validity of this model of empowerment is demonstrated through series of Self Help Group of the district of Orissa.
The SHG movement in Orissa has become almost synonymous with economic empowerment of women. A significant issue associated with the economic empowerment of women is an understanding of their legal, judicial and social rights and entitlements. Orissa has one of the highest incidence of poverty in the country with 47 percent households below the poverty line compared to all India average of 26 percent. Poverty and backwardness of women in the state are mammoth in promotions that need for redressal. Women and children suffer more on account of poverty. Illiteracy, social and material deprivation, dependence on agriculture and non-timber forest produces for livelihood, lack of avenues for supplementary income, coupled with physical distances from the centers of development and developed markets contribute towards overall poverty, the major brunt of which is faced by women.
The researcher will employ both quantitative and qualitative approaches to data gathering. The researcher will make use of a survey and a focus group. A survey gathers data at a particular point in time with the intention of describing the nature of existing conditions can be compared, or determining the relationship that exist between specific events. Survey research according to Hutchinson (2004) can be defined most simply as a means of gathering information, usually through self-report using questionnaires or interviews (p. 285). The attraction of a survey lie in its appeal to generazability or universality within given parameters, its ability to make statements which are supported by large data banks and its ability to establish the degree of confidence which can be placed in a set of findings (Cohen et al., 2000, p. 171). The popularity of survey research is due in large to its utility on countless research situations. Surveys are used for such diverse purposes as needs assessment, program evaluation, attitude measurement, political opinion polling, and policy analysis, as well as for simple descriptions of behaviors, activities, and population characteristics. The scope of surveys can range from large-scale national surveys to smaller surveys confined to a single neighborhood, classroom, or organization. Another strength is its applicability on situations where direct manipulations of variables is either unfeasible to unethical (Hutchinson, 2004, p. 286). Surveys are best suited for descriptive research. Companies undertake surveys to learn about people’s knowledge, beliefs, preferences, and satisfaction, and to measure these magnitudes in the general population (Kotler 2000).