In traditional societies, even more than elsewhere, women empowerment does not occur easily or overnight. There is a big percentage of able and talented work force, both poor women & youth in the rural villages mostly without employment. Due to lack of financial support formal education & exposure to opportunities, they still remain unemployed & are not able to make any contribution to the family or to the community. In the case described, there was evidence of such change beginning, to which the project had apparently contributed. It was most noticeable among certain types of women. Perhaps one of the most important emerging lessons is that NGOs groups helped in women empowerment, in their social aspects, NGO play a vital role in such empowerment. This argues for placing emphasis on sustaining groups beyond the life of the project, which indeed was done in this instance.
Only when women are empowered, we may build a world that is worthwhile to live in. The cause to empower women must not become lighter under any circumstances and there should be persistent & genuine efforts to achieve gender equality. The women’s movement and a wide-spread network of non-Government Organizations which have strong grass-roots existence and deep insight into women’s concerns have contributed in inspiring initiatives for the empowerment of women.
Since women include the majority of the population below the poverty line and are very often in situations of extreme poverty, given the harsh realities of intra-household & social discrimination, macro- economic policies & poverty eradication programs will specifically address the needs and problems of such women. There will be improved implementation of programs which are already women oriented with special targets for women. Steps will be taken for mobilization of poor women and convergence of services, by offering them a range of economic and social options, along with necessary support measures to enhance their capabilities.
Gone are the days when women were considered no match for all powerful men in this world. The male dominated world was always reluctant to even acknowledge the fact that women were as good as men on parameters of hard work, intelligence quotient (IQ) & leader ship traits. In the modern era the new generation women all across the world have overcome all negative notions and have proved themselves beyond doubt in all spheres of life including the most intricate and cumbersome world of entrepreneurship. Yes, there is a section among women who believe in short-cuts but at the same time there is no dearth of women who are confident, believe in themselves and have enormous fire in their bellies to take on the best in the business and beat them at their own game. India too has its own pool of such bold and fearless women who have made a mark for themselves both within the country as well as overseas.
Entrepreneurship in rural area is essential for proper use of renewable and non renewable natural resources and to provide employment to unemployed youth. Many women entrepreneurs are playing a vital role in this direction through creation of utilities and generation of employment. However many women entrepreneurs have also been facing problems from different angles and these need to be resolved by providing necessary support in finance, production, marketing and improvement in social, cultural environment.
The women entrepreneurship has to be studied separately for two reasons. The first reason being, that women entrepreneurs have emerged as an untapped source of economic growth during the last few decades. They not only creating jobs for themselves and others but also they provide society with different solutions to management, organization and business problems as well as to the exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities. However, their representation in entrepreneurship is minor of all entrepreneurs; as a result there exists a market failure discriminating against women’s possibility to become successful entrepreneurs. This failure needs to be addressed by policy makers so that economic potential of this group is fully utilized. The second reason is that the topic of women entrepreneurship has been neglected both in society in general as well as the social sciences.
In this problem of women empowerment through women entrepreneurship, NGOs plays very vital role worldwide. NGOs role has been always supportive to Government to tackle the issue, as they are closer to community and motivate people to work as people’s voice, they put people demand to the Government.
In this paper the researcher has taken into account various aspects leading to the need for empowerment of women through entrepreneurship by the NGO named Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP). SSP is working towards fulfilling mission of sustainable community development by empowering women and youth as leaders and entrepreneurs since last 25 years in many areas throughout the Country. SSP’s attempt to do this by generating entrepreneurs in rural areas has been studied and analyzed in this paper.
This paper also recommends that communication support (films, radio broadcasts and so on, with sensitization and training content) be used to speed up the empowerment process as well as there are some NGOs taking such responsibilities taking on their shoulder.
R.Himalinidevi (Aug-2014) “WOMEN EMPOWERMENT THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP”: She had studied various aspects of women empowerment in rural areas of the country which will solve the problem of unemployment & poverty eradication. The NGOs also worked as an efficient agent.
Dr. (Smt.) Rajeshwari M. Shettar (April 2015): “A STUDY ON ISSUES CHALLENGES OF WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN INDIA”: The author has highlighted that Empowerment of Women could only be achieved if their economic and social status is improved. This is possible only by adopting definite social and economic policies with a view of total development.
Muthusami Kumaran (2014): “ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND TRENDS OF NGOs IN WOMEN EMPOWERMENT” In this paper he opines that the most severe social injustice which continues to exist in Indian society is gender inequality that subjects women to various forms of male domination and discrimination. Due to their mission alignments for the advancement of women, women empowerment NGOs are a natural fit in responding to the overall issue of gender injustice that threatens to undermine the society at large.
This paper is descriptive in nature which consists of primary as well as secondary data. Primary data consists of information given by women entrepreneurs (Sakhis) associated with SSP through a pretested questionnaire in Latur district. Also through personal interviews with SSP employees & it’s higher officials. All the respondents are from Latur district only. The secondary data includes records from SSP, its annual reports, different articles, case studies, publications, website of SSP, previous studies by the other scholars etc. Information has been analyzed for suggestions & conclusion extensively.
The sample selection for this paper is based on list of Sakhis supplied by SSP, non probability purposive sampling is applied for analysis purpose.
Objective of the Study
- To study the socio economic background of women entrepreneurs in rural areas.
- To assess the role of the SSP in development of women entrepreneurship in Latur district.
- To study the development of qualities possessed by the women entrepreneurs after training given by SSP.
The study analyses the problems and prospects of women entrepreneurs associated with SSP in Latur district.
Limitation of the Study
- The study covers the data of period 2017-18.
- The study is limited to the women entrepreneurs related to SSP only.
- The limitations of financial and human resources (respondents) have restricted the study of 50 samples in Latur district only.
- Though an attempt is made to select the sample from all villages & to make it true representation, it is possible that the result of this sample survey perhaps may not be applicable to the sense.
Swayam Shikshan Prayog
Swayam Shikshan Prayog based in Mumbai, and began its operations in 1994 in the earthquake affected area Latur district for the reconstruction and rehabilitation. It provided a number of significant lessons that have since been applied to develop a model for disaster management and reconstruction across the country and abroad also.
Sakhi Social Enterprise Network (SSEN) a subsidiary of SSP was established for learning and development organization through ‘Self education for empowerment’ to bring women and communities from the margin to the main stream of development. The organization seeds entrepreneurship among undeserved segment of society, through awareness, training and skill building programme.
Sakhi Social Enterprise Network (SSEN) reaches out to rural communities through three flagship programmes (E-school) for Women’s micro entrepreneurs and school for vocational shill and placement (V-school) for youth in low income families and schools for design and business implementation plans and (D-school) – for developing business framework and designing its implementation plan.
Sakhi Samudaya Kosh (SSK): Committed to financial inclusion and economic empowerment for poor women, since 2006, SSK has loaned over Rs. 55 crores to 33,263 women for various women led enterprises, product loans for clean energy enterprises, besides loans for life improvement for housing, investment in agriculture, sanitation and education.
Sakhi Arogya Samudaya Trust promotes health through creation of mutual support health groups and membership of women and families for improved access to affordable health services, education and insurance.
Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise (SURE), that has tremendous insights and experience with working with those at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) towards fostering models, co-creating affordable products, clean and green solutions and innovating with ease in terms of various services & IT applications.
- After providing skills training given by SSP, the learning women entrepreneurs gain to build up their capacities, understand the market & to run their business profitably.
- There is a big percentage of able and talented working force, both poor women and youth in the rural villages, who are idle and mostly without any employment. Due to lack of financial support, formal education and exposure to opportunities, they still remain unemployed and are not able to make any contribution to the family or to the community.
- SSP has promoted its entrepreneurs by giving training in book keeping, saving management and credit management. Now, 67 % of entrepreneurs are book keeping adaptors, 92 % in saving management & 71 % in credit management.
- There is a drastic change in the Economic, Social & Cultural Status of the Sakhis of SSP after the training & successful running of Business.
- Sakhis the community at large are looking at creating a rural to rural energy chain in the future which impacts the whole community as a whole.
- By creating self-help groups and more communication with different groups in villages will help to identify untapped resources which can lead to viable pathways towards new opportunities.
- It is necessary to enhance the technical/social awareness by providing them adequate information about marketing, skills, financial provisions & technology.
- Better skill based educational facilities such as E-learning modules should be extended to women entrepreneurs from Government.
- In the present scenario additional amount of credit to be given from SSP to women entrepreneurs for completing selling cycle.
- Linking rural energy with productive uses can create employment opportunities; rise income levels and improves quality of life in rural areas.
- Women’s perspectives is to be included in designing and implementing macro-economic and social policies by institutionalizing their participation in such processes. Women’s contribution to social & economical development as producers and workers is to be recognized in the formal and informal sectors (including home based workers) and appropriate policies relating to employment and to her working conditions will be drawn up.
The study conducted in this paper clearly exhibits that SSP helped women entrepreneurs in many ways to start entrepreneurial activities. Due to multidimensional support especially in the field of sanitation, organic farming, drinking water, & renewable energy the socio-economic level of those women increased substantially. With the SSP’s support women empowerment have achieved a lot in this area. Many private entities like banks, corporate & Government too is accepting the significance of the work & ready to give hand to work with. Perhaps one of the most important emerging lessons is that women’s groups themselves, in their social aspects, play a role in such empowerment. This argues for placing emphasis on sustaining groups beyond the life of the project, which indeed was done in this instance. The project evaluation also recommended that communication support (films, radio broadcasts and so on, with sensitization and training content) be used to speed up the empowerment process.