Overview for Empowering Women: An Alternative Strategy from Rural India
Conventional approaches to women's empowerment are based on the twin assumptions that alleviation of poverty will automatically lead to their empowerment and that the major constraint on programmes for upliftment is monetary. The result of five decades of planning, however, has shown that economic assistance by itself does not necessarily improve the status of women. Dr. Sakuntala Narasimhan argues that the more vital inhibiting factors leading to the disadvantaged position of women are their ignorance, powerlessness and vulnerability. This immensely insightful book emphasises the need for bringing about an attitudinal change among women as the most important step towards empowerment. Dr. Narasimhan focuses specifically on rural scheduled caste and scheduled tribe women, who, she says, are triply disadvantaged as women, as members of the rural section of the populace and because of their low-caste status. The book compares the effectiveness of state initiatives with the motivation-and-conscientisation strategy advocated by AWARE (Action for Welfare and Awakening in Rural Environment), a non-governmental development organisation working in 6,000 villages spread over seven states in India. It analyses the success of AWARE's work among women through various case studies and concludes that, besides monetary resources, it is the mindset of the policy makers, bureaucrats and particularly the women concerned that must change in order to assist the empowerment of women. This pioneering book provides a refreshing perspective on an issue that has long been a topic of discussion among theorists of development as well as activists. It will be of interest to policy makers, bureaucrats, non-governmental organisations, social workers and those in the fields of development studies, gender studies and sociology.
Sakuntala Narsimhan (Author)
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