Can self-help group programmes improve women’s empowerment?
Speaker: Thomas de Hoop, senior researcher, American Institutes for Research
Date: 14 January, 3.30-5.00 p.m.
Venue: India International Centre, Conference Room 2 (above the cafeteria) New Delhi – 110003
Findings from a systematic review
Self-help groups (SHGs) are one of the popular development interventions to stimulate women’s empowerment across several countries of South Asia, including India. This systematic review co-authored by Thomas de Hoope analyses the impact of SHGs on women’s economic, social, psychological and political empowerment.
The study shows that women’s economic SHGs have positive effects on various dimensions of empowerment, including economic, social and political. Women showed familiarity with handling money and independence in financial decision making, improved social networks and received respect from the household and other community members.
The findings indicate that donors can consider funding women’s SHGs in order to stimulate their economic, social, and political empowerment, but the effects of SHGs on psychological empowerment are less clear. It is also important for policy makers to identify ways to increase support and reduce barriers for individual women that want to participate in SHGs but do not have the financial resources or freedom to join.