The stature of rural women in India is impoverished, vulnerable and non-existent. There have been underlying societal issues that women have been surviving. Economic empowerment is critical to empower women and achieve gender equality. Microfinance Institutions in India have proved to be an efficient mechanism in eradicating poverty, by way of providing easy credit, saving and generating economic activities. This research seeks to investigate the significance of economic empowerment to bring psychological and social empowerment, and further bringing societal change at large. To achieve the research objective, primary data was collected, using an interview schedule in the survey method. We interviewed 200 rural women associated with microfinance institutions from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. To describe the demographic profile of the respondents, mean and standard deviation is used; further, regression analysis is applied to develop a correlation between various factors. Interpretation of the analysis reveals that economic empowerment impacts psychological and social empowerment, but the impact is not very significant. In other words, significant psychological and social changes cannot be reflected through economic empowerment by MFI. Hence, there can be various other factors that influence social and psychological empowerment, which further opens scope for research.
Keywords: Gender Equality, Microfinance, Economic Empowerment, Psychological Empowerment, Social Empowerment
The ‘(United Nation) Pursue the Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030’ aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. It is estimated that gender gaps cost an economy around 15 percent of GDP, which is an alarming indicator for developing economies across the globe. India’s first female Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, drew attention to women empowerment in the 2019 Union Budget speech in Lok Sabha.