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Title: Jeevika as a mode of women empowerment
Authors: Das, Koel
Keywords: School of Social Work
Anjali Dave
Centre for Women-Centered Social Work
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: This research describes a quantitative study of the Jeevika(Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society) project’s empowerment effects on single women. Jeevika aims to enhance socio - economic empowerment of rural poor in Bihar. Women are seen as key player in this project. In this research study, single women’s(widow, never married, abandoned and divorced) experiences have been delved into. Singleness is a fragile social condition which has been constructed by the patriarchal norms and gets reproduced in the post modern times. Empowerment is a complex concept. It does not necessarily get translated with access to economic freedom or decision making. In other words, in case of single women empowering processes to bring these women into mainstream becomes difficult. Although, mobility gained by participating in SHG activities does lead to access to safe spaces where they can share knowledge ,gain information, ideas etc. The “control” over economic resources and decision making is by default and not by choice in case of single women. They participate in micro-credit activities to get a chance to bargain better in the market. As it would mean plethora of benefits like freedom from money – lenders, relief because there is no requirement of collateral, sense of community due to participation in regular meetings etc. Intersectionality like caste, class, age, disability, education etc also play an active role in getting access to resources aided by the Self-Help groups. In this research study all these dimension have been looked into. The experiences both in social and economical trajectories of single women have been analysed. In the lives of marginalised women the act of decision making and earning money does not necessarily lead to empowerment, it is a struggle for survival. Belonging to a Self –Help group gives women sense of community and get an opportunity to build social capital. Whereas in case of upper caste women the mobility to spaces is absent. Even the decisions taken in the household it is by the virtue being “singleness”. Economic freedom equivocally can or cannot manifest into empowerment in single women’s lives, that is researcher’s point of analysis.
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