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Perceptions of Empowerment

Perceptions of Empowerment

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The majority of the poor people in the world today are women. During the past years the empowerment of women has become something of a universal remedy in the development discourse for the vulnerable position of women, particularly through microcredit strategies. The exact meaning of the term empowerment is not clear however, but the word is still used liberally in development policy.This study is investigating whether there is a discrepancy in the usage of the empowerment concept between the macro-level and the dominating development discourse on the one hand, and the micro-level and the women in the microcredit groups on the other, and what possible consequences such a discrepancy has on the lives of the concerned women. Women in microcredit groups in rural Gujarat in India are interviewed and their perceptions of their own empowerment are the focus of this book. What makes these women feel empowered? Is it an increase in material resources, or are there other factors that must be taken into account?