‘One hen’ or ‘a basket of bangles’: women development and micro-credit in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu in India has a glorious tradition of recognizing the importance of empowering women over several centuries. The State fares reasonably well (above the all-India level) in terms of indicators such as female literacy, girls enrollment, female life expectancy, and women’s access to basic amenities. The maternal mortality rates and total fertility rates are also lower than the national average. In terms of political participation, women are faring reasonably well. While the absolute condition of women in Tamil Nadu is better than that in most States, the position of women vis-à-vis men with respect to literacy, education, work force participation, wages, asset-ownership and political participation has not improved. It is recognized that the main obstacles to empowerment has been the low level of educational attainments as well as poverty among women. Taking into account this fact, the Government of Tamil Nadu has framed various policies, designed specific interventions and implemented many programmes to eradicate poverty and to provide education to the vulnerable sections of the society. These different Government-sponsored schemes are implemented through women’s self-help groups. The present paper discusses the experience of Tamil Nadu in women development and micro-credit.
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