Stronger Women, Stronger Societies: - A case study of micro credit and women empowerment in Southeasten India

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Micro credit has become a popular tool in the fight against poverty. All over the world, economists and practitioners have adopted the topicality. At the same time, an increased awareness of the situation of women is noticeable. In particular, marginalized women are discussed since they face poverty, illiteracy, low caste/casteless and gender gap. In the Indian South-eastern state of Tamil Nadu, the local non-governmental organization Hand in Hand (HiH) organizes women into self-help groups where women get access to smaller loans. This helps improve the economic situation of women and facilitates empowerment in other spheres of their lives. This report is founded on a case study in the operating field of Hand in Hand. The data is based on interviews with women involved in micro credit projects, personnel at HiH, and also with diverse experts in the field of micro credit. Thereafter, the report analyzes the impacts of micro credit on marginalized women living in patriarchal societies, from three aspects. These are the economic/ socio-cultural/ and mental space. These three spheres of a woman's life interact and transcend each other. Likewise, they illustrate in which ways women get empowered.

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