[Answered] Can the vicious cycle of gender inequality, poverty and malnutrition be broken through microfinancing of women SHGs? Explain with examples.

Gender inequality results in unequal opportunities in terms of access to health, education, nutrition and quality jobs pushing women into poverty and malnutrition.  

Microfinancing of women SHGs can target women sitting at the bottom of the poverty pyramid with higher socio-economic inequalities, in the following manner: 

  1. Nutritional indicators: Microfinancing of the women SHGs is linked to better nutritional outcomes for the whole family. It is important in breaking inter-generational poverty. For example, Self Employed Women’s Association, works towards nutrition security amongst women. 
  2. Community involvement: Microfinancing of women SHGs, help break the barriers of social conventions and gender ideology, with enhanced community engagement. For example, Kudumbshree, initiative in Kerala started as a SHG. 
  3. Decision making ability: Microfinancing of women SHGs improves the decision-making ability of its members. With greater say in the matters of resource utilization, family planning etc. For example, Indira Kranti Patham enhanced human resource capacity of its women members.  
  4. Socio-economic empowerment: Mission Shakti initiative of Orissa government have led to better socio-economic indicators among tribal women. 
  5. Credit availability: Microfinancing of women SHGs is linked to increased credit worthiness of the members. Access to credit provides resilience against falling into poverty trap. For example, Jay Ambe SHG, in Rajasthan facilitates credit availability for its poor members. 
  6. Provide for non-farm employment is crucial in supporting the primary occupation of agriculture during times of agricultural distress.  

Microfinancing of the SHGs can enhance the ability of women to augment the family income. While, it will enhance gender parity, it will also keep the women/children from falling into the vicious circle of malnutrition and poverty. 

Print Friendly and PDF