Microenterprise: A Step Towards Rural Women Empowerment
In the backdrop of prevailing gender inequity in our society and emphasis laid on women empowerment in general and rural women in particular, a study was undertaken on micro-enterprise as a step towards empowerment of rural women. The basic hypothesis in undertaking the study was that the empowerment process begins with and is supported by economic independence of women. Field data were collected from rural women in three categories such as micro-entrepreneurs, non-entrepreneurs and housewives in undivided districts of Puri and Phulbani in the state of Orissa during the year 2000. A comparative data analysis has been done to throw light on whether entering into micro-enterprises has helped in reducing the extent of gender inequity prevailing in the family and has helped in their empowerment. The findings of the study results are that education has a stake on women's involvement in decision-making process of the family and it is the women micro-entrepreneurs who participate comparatively to a greater extent than the non-entrepreneurs and housewives. Further, so far as equity in the food consumption pattern and asset ownership in the family is concerned, micro-entrepreneurs are better placed compared to the non-entrepreneurs and housewives. However, the extent of gender inequity in workload burden is seen to have been prominent among working women than housewives. Thus, empowerment of rural women achieved through micro-enterprises indirectly imposes a burden on women in the form of loss of leisure for them. Based on the findings, it is suggested that there is a need for expansion of educational facilities, both formal and informal for women in the rural areas to improve their involvement in the decision-making process. Promotion for more and more micro-enterprises among rural women through policy initiatives could help in their empowerment.
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Volume (Year): II (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
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