Journal Article

Deconstructing gatekeepers discourses in the establishment of self-help groups for women in rural India

Supriya Baily

in Community Development Journal

Volume 49, issue 4, pages 589-602
Published in print October 2014 | ISSN: 0010-3802
Published online November 2013 | e-ISSN: 1468-2656 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bst059
Deconstructing gatekeepers discourses in the establishment of self-help groups for women in rural India

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This qualitative case study, set in rural India, deconstructs discourses as they relate to the perceptions of power-holders on the development, establishment, and impact of self-help groups (SHGs) on women's empowerment in India. Owing to the high numbers of SHGs and the perception that SHGs offer opportunities for women to participate differently in the community, this study explores: (i) the ways power-holders react to the efforts to establish and participate in SHGs in their community; (ii) the nature and scope of the interaction of power-holders and SHG members and the evolution of this interaction; and (iii) the narratives that unfold at the community level around the involvement of SHG members through their interactions with power-holders. This paper deals specifically with four male leaders in a village where the women had been involved in an SHG for a period for six years. The women actively engaged with the gatekeepers of the community and continued with the programme even after funding for the programme had ended. The data highlight the complex nature of male/female relationships, and the dichotomies that exist for men as they reflect on their own power within families, their perceptions of women's participation in SHGs, and their awareness of authority within their communities as it pertains to women's agency.

Journal Article.  5265 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies ; Development Planning and Policy ; Public Policy

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