Micro-Finance and Women Pradhans in the Panchayats:Field Notes from Dehradun District
Objectives: Based on original survey data in Dehradun district of the state of Uttarakhand (India), this study aims to ascertain the impact of membership to Self-help groups on political participation of women including the electoral and non-electoral participation.
Methods/Statistical analysis: Convenient sampling was used to collect the data. 400 women members of SHG in Sahaspur and 100 in Chakrata in Dehradun were interviewed. Respondents were asked to answer Yes or No to a series of questions regarding the various dimensions of political participation and as to how membership has led to development of skills conducive for political participation. To gauge the effectiveness of women pradhans/ward members, questions pertaining to their work in the villages were asked. Survey results are analyzed using percentages and presented by way of bar graphs for more clarity of the results.
Findings: The study is novel as it throws light on the political engagement of women in two regions of Dehradun in a broad range of activities (electoral as well as non-electoral) and not just in terms of voting behaviour and proportion of elected representatives. Memberships of SHGs help in increasing the visibility of women in village and positively impact their political participation by developing skills conducive for political participation. The association with these groups help members in joining politics and performing better as elected representatives. The political participation of women and performance was found to be higher in all respects in Sahaspur as compared to Chakrata. The interviews suggest that the difference in impact is arising due to a variety of factors such as education, employment, society norms and division of labour within a household. The study highlights that membership to SHGs is not sufficient for higher political participation unless it is accompanied by efficient and dedicated self-help promoting institutions, supporting infrastructure, investments in women’s education and employability and most importantly change in social norms regarding women’s involvement in public life.
Application/Improvements: The study indicates that SHGs have non-credit benefits in terms of political empowerment of women. Therefore, the government needs to take steps not only to prevent the disintegration of SHGs but also promote their formation in underserved regions. One of the important policy suggestions that come out of this study is the establishment of dedicated self- help promoting institutions.
- World economic forum. https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2018. Date accessed: 26/01/2018.
- Census of India 2011. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Census_of_India. Date accessed: 27/03/2019.
- National Family Health survey (2015-16). http://microdata.worldbank.org/index.php/catalog/2949. Date accessed: 07/02/2018.
- P.K. Chhibber. Democracy without associations: transformation of the party system and social cleavages in India. University of Michigan Press. 1999; 304.
- Economic survey. https://www.ibef.org/economy/economic-survey-2017-18. Date accessed: 01/2018.
- G. Miller. Women’s suffrage, political responsiveness and child survival in American history. Quarterly Journals Economics. 2008; 123(3), 1287-1327
- A. Swamy, O. Azfar, S. Knack, Y. Lee. Gender and corruption. Journal of Development Economics. 2001; 64(1), 25-55.
- D. Dollar, R. Fishman, R. Gatti. Are women really the ‘fairer’ sex? Corruption and women in government.’ Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. 2001; 46(4), 423-429.
- J.R. Lott, L.W. Kenny. Did women’s suffrage change the size and scope of Government?” Journal of Political Economy. 1999; 107, 1163–1198.
- L. Edlund, R. Pande. Why has women become left-wing? The political gender gap and the decline in marriage. Quarterly Journal of Economics. 2001; 117, 917–961.
- R. Chattopadhyaya, E. Duflo. Women as policy makers: evidence from a randomized policy experiment in India. Econometrica. 2004; 1-35.
- R. Pande. Can mandated political representation increase policy influence for dis- advantaged minorities? Theory and evidence from India. American Economic Review. 2003; 93, 1132–1151.
- T. Besley, R. Pande, L. Rahman, V. Rao. The politics of public goods provision: evidence from Indian local Government. Journal of the European Economic Association. 2004; 2(2/3), 416-426.
- Study on EWR’s in Panchayati Raj Institutions. https://www.panchayatgyan.gov.in/documents/20181/0/Study+on+EWRs+in+Panchayati+Raj+Institutions.pdf/5d65421b-b6e9-42b2-8139-a6ceaf8e2789. Date accessed: 24/04/2008.
- L. Iyer, A. Mani. The roads not taken: Gender gaps along paths to political power Centre for competitive advantage in the global economy. University of Warwick, Working paper series. 2018.
- E. Ostrom, T.K. Ahn. The meaning of social capital and its link to collective action. SSRN Electronic Journal. 2007
- Self help groups in India A study of Lights and Shades. http://www.apmas.org/pdf/Self%20Help%20Groups%20in%20India%20-%20A%20Study%20on%20Quality%20and%20Sustainability.pdf. Date accessed: 12/2012.
- C.S. Reddy, S. Manak. Self-Help groups: A Keystone of microfinance in India- Women empowerment and social security. APMAS. 2005; 1-19.
- Status of microfinance in India. https://www.nabard.org/auth/writereaddata/tender/1907183104SMFI%202017-18.pdf. Date accessed: 31/03/2018.
Abstract Views: 13
PDF Views: 6