A Case Study on Kudumbasree: Political Empowerment of Women for Sustainable Poverty Reduction

By Sapna Reheem.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

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Sustainable poverty eradication strategies aim to empower the poor and maximise capabilities. Gender equality in polices, focusing on women especially, are believed to cushion households from the impacts of macroeconomic shocks and strengthen them along various capability axes. In India, microfinance programmes are initiated to reduce poverty by targeting women. It should be noted that many of these initiatives failed, as they created a lending loop that positioned the borrowers in jeopardy. Despite such failures, certain initiatives like self-help groups (SHGs), small groups of women operating on a savings-first business model, work more efficiently and continue to enhance the capabilities of the poor and reduce poverty. These SHGs are claimed to empower women and encourage their participation in local governance and development, proving the nexus between the same. The Kudumbasree project, started in a small state in India, stands testimonial to these claims. This paper attempts to determine how such SHGs are more feasible as a poverty reduction option and contribute to the overall upliftment of the targeted community. In conclusion, the paper argues that political empowerment and participation of the beneficiaries are essential for the success of any development strategy.

Keywords: Sustainable Poverty Reduction, Women Empowerment, Political Empowerment, Self Help Groups, Local Governance and Women, Kudumbasree, Participatory Development

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.121-130. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 230.522KB).

Sapna Reheem

Graduate Student, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Sapna Reheem is a graduate student in Law at the National Academy of Legal Science and Research (NALSAR), India. Sapna Reheem is interested in Development Policies, Feminist Jurisprudence, Law, and Poverty. Reheem has participated in various research initiatives with the Centre for Development Studies, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries. Reheem has also volunteered under the eminent economist Jean Dreze in the past. Past researches were focused on Trade and Environment; Understanding Women Rights in Tibetan Community; Analysing the concept of Obviousness of Chemical and Biotechnology Patents in the USA; and the study of a Public Distributive System over Cash Transfers in India. Reheem is the author of various articles published in leading newspapers and student journals, focusing on ethics in law and women, intellectual property rights, and trade policies. Reheem has also participated in international conferences on Trade and Environment. Presently, Reheem is serving as an editor for the NALSAR Student Law Review and is a core member for the Centre for Constitutional Law, Public Policy, and Good Governance. Reheem is the author of the article KSR v. Teleflex: Obviousness in Chemical and Biotechnology Patents, which is soon to be published in the 2011 issue of the Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law.