Empowering Women Through Self -Help Groups: Role Of Distance Education

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF3 // The growing social awareness across the globe has brought a number of issues to the fore among which gender equality and empowerment of women are very significant. Discrimination against women in the form of male-female differentiation constitutes the core of the gender-biased system. The education is the biggest liberating force and the rise in the levels of education which nourishes progressive outlook and the advent of industrialization and modernization have effected a sea change in the attitudes and thinking pattern of the people. The empowerment is not essentially political alone in fact; political empowerment will not succeed in the absence of economic empowerment. The scheme of micro financing through Self Help Groups (SHGs) has transferred the real economic power in the hands of women and has considerably reduced their dependence on men. This has helped in empowerment of women and building self-confidence, but lake of education often comes in the way and many a times they had to seek help from their husbands for day-to-day work viz; bank, accounts, etc. The distance education provides an opportunity to these women to improve their skills. The higher level of learning will help them to learn skill and vocations and play an effective role in the management of SHGs. // The Government must take effective measures to enroll the members of SHGs in the schemes of Open Schooling. It is observed that open education at present is mainly catering to the needs of elites in the urban areas and it has to make inroads into rural areas where India lives. The Policy planners must think to integrate the economic benefits with education. I suggest the differential rate of interest for women doing any course through Open Schools. The economic incentives and effective NGOs participation will definitely make the women empowerment a reality from a distant dream at present.