Empowerment of women through Self Help Group (SHG): An anthropological study

The empowerment of women is one of the central issues in the process of development of countries in all over the world. India has a glorious tradition of recognizing the importance of empowering women over several centuries now. In recent decades, empowerment of women emerged as one of the significant strategies in the development process. The Government of India has made Empowerment of Women as one of the prime objectives of the 9th Five Year Plan (1997-2002) and also declared 2001 as the year of ‘Women’s empowerment’. Empowerment is a multi-dimensional, multi-faceted and multi-layered concept. It is a process to enable women to realize their identity and powers in all spheres of life. Further, empowerment provides better access to knowledge and resources, more independence in decision making, better ability to plan their lives, which influence their lives and freedom from belief, practice and custom. In this present study we have tried to analyze the empowerment of women through Self Help Groups (SHG) in a village of Junglemahal of Paschim Medinipur District of West Bengal and also to assess the socio-economic conditions of the beneficiaries of groups. The study also identifies the common problems faced by the members in this group.