Day 67 – Q 2. How does lack of social empowerment lead to poverty? Illustrate with the help of suitable examples.
2. How does lack of social empowerment lead to poverty? Illustrate with the help of suitable examples.
सामाजिक सशक्तिकरण की कमी से गरीबी कैसे बढ़ती है? उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से चित्रण करें।
Social empowerment is a means to build a socially just society. It is understood as the process of developing a sense of autonomy and self-confidence, and acting individually and collectively to change social relationships and the institutions and discourses that exclude poor people and keep them in poverty. The holistic empowerment of all sections of the society is a necessary condition for the development of a country.
- Poor people’s empowerment, and their ability to hold others to account, is strongly influenced by their individual assets (such as land, housing, livestock, savings) and capabilities of all types: human (such as good health and education), social (such as social belonging, a sense of identity, leadership relations) and psychological (self-esteem, self-confidence, the ability to imagine and aspire to a better future).
- Poor people’s involvement in local associations and inter-community cooperation mechanisms can contribute to social empowerment by improving their skills, knowledge and self-perception. Local associations also act as self-help mechanisms through which poor people organise their economic activities, such as farming cooperatives, or microfinance groups.
- It is also important to recognise that associational life at the local level takes place predominantly within the informal sphere, such as religious organisations, traditional and customary institutions, and informal community based groups. It is these organisations that exert the most influence on poor people’s lives.
- Vulnerable groups, such as the very poor, women and marginalised communities can often lack the skills and confidence to engage in community decision-making. For example, Manual scavengers in India are inadequately organised which perpetuates their poverty cycle.
- Socially marginalised groups not only enter the market with poorer human capabilities than others; they also receive lower returns for equal effort because of discrimination. A project supporting farmer groups in Malawi and Kenya found that women farmers, despite being equally productive and entrepreneurial, received a lower price for their crops than did men farmers
- Women constitute a majority of the poor and are often the poorest of the poor. The societal disadvantage and inequality they face because they are women shapes their experience of poverty differently from that of men, increases their vulnerability, and makes it more challenging for them to climb out of poverty. For example, there is growing feminisation of agriculture in India but lack of social empowerment of women makes them vulnerable to poverty.
- Human capabilities, such as decent health and literacy, give people the freedom to engage in economic activities and participate in political and cultural life. Unpaid care work within families, largely undertaken by women, is vital for human well being and represents a major contribution to the development of human capability.
- Job creation and productivity gains have historically been the most powerful forces for improving living standards—and India is in need of deep reforms that can encourage businesses to invest, scale up, and hire. Microfinance programs have succeeded in increasing the incomes of poor households and protecting them against complete destitution.
- Education is the first step that empowers any marginalised community to attain socio-economic mobility in society. Presently, education has become a potent tool for empowering the masses, especially the people belonging to socially and economically weaker sections of the society. Lack of education can lead to poverty cycle as can be seen with regards to tribal community in india who have literacy rates less than national average.
- Poverty eradication among migrants through empowerment based on more integration and accessibility. Poverty is a situation that hits migrants in particular. In this case, empowering migrants means to ensure them a balanced access to services, in particular the ones available to all other citizens (health, care, insurance, jobs, etc…).
Empowerment and pro-poor growth form a virtuous cycle. Mutually reinforcing economic, social and political aspects of empowerment allows people to move out of poverty through participating in, contributing to and benefitting from growth processes which further help in achieving national ideals.