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Societies 2018, 8(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030048

Does Micro-Credit Empower Women through Self-Help Groups? Evidence from Punjab, Northern India

1
Department of Entrepreneurship and Management Systems, Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw, 1/3 Szturmowa Street, 02-678 Warsaw, Poland
2
School of Business Management and Liberal Arts, Shoolini University, Solan 173229, India
3
Centre for Entrepreneurship, Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw, 1/3 Szturmowa Street, 02-089 Warsaw, Poland
4
Islamic Azad University Firoozkooh Branch (IAUFB), Firoozkooh 3981838381, Iran
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 4 July 2018
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Abstract

The goal of this paper is to examine the question—‘Does income earned by members of women’s self-help groups (SHGs) through micro-credit programs empower them?’ The nature of the topic dictates the use of cross-sectional survey technique and comparative analysis to determine the levels of women empowerment before and after joining SHGs. A five-point Likert-type scale was developed, for which Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient was observed to be 0.824. The survey instrument contained four sections, namely, income and expenditure; savings and borrowing amounts; financial freedom; and, capacity building and awareness levels. A sample group consisting of 114 participants of SHGs responded to the survey instrument. The t-test results for mean values before and after joining SHGs showed a significant change in levels of women empowerment in all the four areas. The prime reason for this empowerment was joining SHGs and using micro-credit programmes. It becomes apparent from this research that joining SHGs, and consequently, getting access to financial services increased the ability of poor women to control their savings and generate income from their occupation. They also experienced a greater decision-making role in their families and in local society, enhanced levels of self-confidence, self-efficacy and self-esteem, and heightened freedom of mobility to increase business and social activities outside home. View Full-Text
Keywords: micro-credit; women’s empowerment; economic development; SHGs; India micro-credit; women’s empowerment; economic development; SHGs; India
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Esmaeil Zaei, M.; Kapil, P.; Pelekh, O.; Teimoury Nasab, A. Does Micro-Credit Empower Women through Self-Help Groups? Evidence from Punjab, Northern India. Societies 2018, 8, 48.

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