The total world population comprises of 50% women. As far as the social status of women is concerned it has been seen that in the Indian context in most states women are not treated as equal to men in most places. This gender discrimination is very deep rooted and it adversely affects the moral of the women population in the country as a whole. The need of the hour is to address this issue with full sincerity and ensure that women are provided with the necessary rights which could enable them to take up decision making role and thereby play a significant part in the society they reside in. Empowering may be understood as enabling people, especially women to acquire and possess power resources, in order to make decision on their own or resist decisions that are made by others that affect them.
Self-help group is a method of organizing the poor people and the marginalized to come together to solve their individual problem. The SHG method is used by the government, NGOs and others worldwide. One estimate places the total number of people in self-help support groups at 20 million worldwide.
In the past couple of decades SHGs in India have emerged as a very powerful tool for poverty alleviation and empowerment of women.
Empowerment is a process of awareness and capacity building leading to greater participation, to greater decision making power and control and transformative action. Empowerment of women signifies harnessing women power by conscientising their tremendous potential and encouraging them to work towards attaining a dignified and satisfying way of life through confidence and competence as person with self-respect, rights and responsibilities. Empowerment as a concept was introduced at the International Women's Conference at Nairobi in 1985. The conference defined empowerment as "A redistribution of social power and control of resources in favour of women. Empowerment is a multi-faceted process which encompasses many aspects i.e. enhancing awareness, increasing access to resources of economic, social and political etc." In recent years women empowerment has become a subject of great concern for the nations all over the world especially in poor and developing countries. The impact of globalization is seen eventually on position of women in some form or other in most of the developing countries with the variation of degree. The United Nations has also strived hard in an incredible way to draw the due attention of the World Community on this issue in the past years.
SHGs AS A MOTIVATIONAL TOOL TO EMPOWER WOMEN
One has to believe that the progress of any nation is inevitably linked with social and economical plight of women in that particular country. For concrete results, we have to assert and act with our full might and what is needed most. Empowerment by way of participation in SHG can bring enviable changes and enhancement in the living conditions of women in poor and developing nations.. Self Help Group (SHG) is a process by which a group of 10-20 women with common objectives are facilitated to come together voluntarily to participate in the development activities such as saving, credit and income generation thereby ensuring economic independence. The principles underlying the SHGs are financing the poorest of the poor, and achieving holistic empowerment. SHG phenomenon certainly brings group consciousness among women, sense of belonging, adequate self confidence. What she cannot achieve as an individual, can accomplish as a member of group with sufficient understanding about her own rights, privileges, roles and responsibilities as a dignified member of society in par with man. When she becomes a member of SHG, her sense of public participation, enlarged horizon of social activities, high self-esteem, self-respect and fulfillment in life expands and enhances the quality of status of women as participants, decision makers and beneficiaries in the democratic, economic social and cultural spheres of life. …