Date of Award
Thesis and Dissertation
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology
Self-help groups have been considered a powerful tool in empowering women because of the various opportunities they provide women. Self-help groups have started becoming very popular in rural Nepal. My research focuses on the interpretations of men and women in rural Nepal regarding how self-help groups have influenced women's lives. Interviews with women and their husbands reveal that self-help groups have provided women with physical social mobility, increased knowledge and skills, increased their ability to speak and voice opinions, and increased their capacity to invest in their children's education. However, women have not been able to earn money through independent business enterprises, they have limited decision-making ability, and they have not experienced radical change in gender division of labor. We use Kabeer's (1999) framework to analyze whether these changes have empowered women and we conclude that according to this framework, self-help groups have been somewhat successful in empowering women as women have been able to transform gender inequalities in some areas, but not all. My research seeks to emphasize that such significant transformations may just be pale indicators of large
changes in agency. My research uses Emirbayer's and Mische's (1998) concept of agency to analyze the transformation that has taken place in women's agency as a result of their participation in self-help groups. It emphasizes that these transformations should not be ignored as indications of empowerment.
Adhikari, Shikshya, "Empowerment Through Transformations in Agency - Influence of Self Help Groups on Women's Empowerment in Rural Nepal" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 390.