Women’s Education And Empowerment In Rural India, as its title suggests, is about understanding women’s empowerment in rural India. In this extremely important book, Jyotsna Jha, Neha Ghatak, Niveditha Menon, Priyanka Dutta, and Shreekanth Mahendiran explore the pathways and roadblocks to women’s empowerment. They do this through an evaluation-centred research on Mahila Samakhya in Bihar, a Government of India-funded scheme of the Education Department, aimed at providing ‘education for women’s equality’. The book evaluates the impact of the scheme and its interventions on the lives of women from the most marginalised communities. It traces the meaning and the process of the various facets of empowerment as well. These include how women’s empowerment effect their mobility; savings; participation in economic activities; self-efficacy; decision-making and political participation. It also measures the intergenerational impact of empowerment, through the choices that women make about their daughters’ education and marriage. It also examines the way women, through the process of empowerment, are able to adjust and negotiate with dominant social institutions such as the family, and policy processes and their outcomes. In doing so, the book raises some important questions about the developmental implications of women’s education and social policy, planning and implementation. This book will be of enormous value to government departments, and all social science departments in universities such as political science, education, sociology, economics and gender studies.
Jyotsna Jha presently heads Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), located in Bangalore, India. CBPS is an independent non-profit, non-governmental organisation that focuses on research in gender, education, social and economic policies, budgeting, decentralization and governance issues. Trained as an economist, Jyotsna has significant experience of working on development-related issues.
Neha Ghatak is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies where her engagement has primarily been with gender studies and the education sector. She has worked on several projects related to women’s empowerment, agency and related issues.
Niveditha Menon is a feminist sociologist by training. She is a Senior Research Advisor at the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies. Her primary focus has been in the domain of gender, more specifically, in the areas of domestic and sexual violence, sexuality, and women’s empowerment.
Priyanka Dutta is a qualitative sociologist by training, Priyanka has worked at the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS) Bangalore from September 2016 to February 2018 primarily on gender-related issues.
Shreekanth Mahendiran is a Research Advisor at the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies, Bangalore, India. His research primarily focuses on the applied microeconomics and development economics to examine the questions on access, welfare, and impact assessment. He focuses primarily on the areas related to education, gender, empowerment, and health in the context of the developing world.
Acknowledgements || List of Tables || List of Figures || Abbreviations
Women’s empowerment: Conceptual and historical understanding | Women’s empowerment: Unpacking the meaning | Women’s empowerment in Women in Development (WID), Women and Development (WAD) and the capabilities approach | The Indian women’s movement||
2. Mahila Samakhya: History, concept and design |
Genesis, coverage and objectives | Funding and withdrawal: Refection of wider pattern | MS: An introduction to structures and processes | Education and empowerment in Mahila Samakhya | Understanding the impact of Mahila Samakhya on women’s economic empowerment in rural India | Rationale, research questions and the research sites | Deconstructing ‘power’ and the measurement of empowerment: What the literature says | Economic empowerment: How it has been defined | Research methods
3.Women in Bihar: The multivalent contexts of deprivation and struggle
Introduction | A land of contradictions | Status of the economy | Status of development| Empowerment and inequality indicators | Education in Bihar | Pre-colonial and colonial contexts of education| Post-Independence context of education | Mahila Samakhya in Bihar | Socio-geographical profile of study districts | Muzaffarpur | Kaimur | Katihar
4. Women’s economic empowerment: Indivisible part of a synergetic process
Background | Construction of Individual and overall economic empowerment measures | Estimation strategy | Profile of our sample respondents | Composite Economic Empowerment Index | Non-Negotiable principles of MS philosophy | More than just economic activity | Women to take control | Information is key | Effective use of local resources| MS model of economic empowerment | Unpacking the Composite Empowerment Index | Information and awareness about laws and entitlements: Functional literacy and education | Decision-making | Self-efficacy | Economic activity | Political participation | Attitude towards violence | Conclusions | The effect of MS on economic empowerment | Multiple factors matter | Influence on different dimensions | Importance of examining structural barriers
5. Breaking the cycle: Understanding the inter-generational impact of MS
Introduction | Importance of inter-generational impact | Education | Marriage | Measuring education and marriage | MS and education | Current enrolment | Functional literacy | Institutions for education | MS and marriage | Age at marriage | Mechanisms of change | Resistance encountered by MS | Conclusion
6. Economics of empowerment: A web of negotiations and adjustments
Introduction | Education | Education and informal institutions | Education and inter-generational effects | Work by women | Work and institutions | Work and identity | Work and empowerment | Work and closure of MS | Gender violence | Gender violence and collective knowledge | Gender violence and alternate institutions | Gender violence and co-option | Political participation | Political participation and process of engagement| Political participation and impact | Political participation and institutional constraints | A village study | The village and its people | Institutional structures | Politics of participation | Gender roles | Family dynamics | Personal transformations | An intricate web
7. Conclusion: Lessons for understanding pathways to women’s empowerment |
MS effect on women’s economic empowerment: Understanding internal and external influences || MS effects: A recap | External Environment: An analysis of policy and political directions | Internal Influences: An analysis of the MS design, structures and process and priorities Changing social norms through public policy: A mirage, a distant dream or a reality? | What enabled success? | What weakened MS? | ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’|