Women's participation in self‐help groups as a pathway to women's empowerment: A case of Nepal

Research paper by Madhu Sudhan Atteraya, Shreejana Gnawali, Elizabeth Palley

Indexed on: 27 Apr '16Published on: 26 Apr '16Published in: International Journal of Social Welfare


Non‐governmental organizations (NGOs) and the government of Nepal have made some effort to reduce poverty in Nepal by creating women's affiliation groups, some of which are micro‐credit organizations. Using capabilities as defined by Amartya Sen (Development as freedom, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2000), which includes employment opportunities, women's ownership in productive resources such as land and/or homes, educational opportunities, and women's participation in decision‐making in the family, this study evaluated the extent to which women's ethnic group or caste affiliation affected a woman's likelihood of being empowered by participation in these groups. We analyzed a sample of 8,973 women which was taken from the 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey. Previous research has demonstrated that participation in gender‐based groups is correlated with higher economic status. This study adds to the literature on women's affiliation groups by investigating the impact of structural factors, such as caste and ethnicity, on women's self‐help group participation (women's groups and credit groups).