Being self-empowered, in Hindi you may call it Swashakt, means to give yourself authority or power, such as the power to make your own decisions. One of the ways to do this is by freeing yourself from dependence on others for resources, including money. For women, perhaps one of the surest ways to do this is to work outside home to earn an income.
But does this claim hold true for women who are right at the bottom of the ladder of power? Does it hold for rural women in India and other low- and middle-income countries (L&MICs)? What about rural women from remote and marginalized communities? What does empowerment look like for them? Does self-employment have a connection with empowerment? What are the enablers and barriers of livelihoods to empower women?
Governments and development actors in low- and middle-income countries like India rely on and count on self-help groups (or SHGs) and collectives as key enablers for well-being and livelihoods, especially self-employment, and women’s empowerment. What have we learned from the evidence in this area and how much more do we need to know to improve women’s lives?
The Swashakt podcast series aims to explore the pathways towards economic empowerment and self-empowerment for women - primarily in India but also in other L&MICs. In these focused conversations, we dig into what we know and where we need more evidence. We will be speaking to a series of experts whose learning and experience can act like beacons on this journey.
This podcast series has been produced by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and is inspired by our Swashakt evidence program and our Rural India Livelihoods Project. The views expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of 3ie.
Host: Aastha Dang
Production team: Annie Vincent, Durgadas Menon, Kirthi V Rao, Shailendra, Tanvi
Disclaimer: The podcast has been edited for clarity.