Sakuntala Narasimhan. Empowering Women: An Alternative Strategy from Rural India. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1999. Indian Rupees 195.00. (Paperback). 236pp.

Samina Nazli


The positive role of women in economic development cannot be
understated; those that are educated and properly empowered can act as
catalysts in the development process. This book is about how to empower
women so that they can become independent and self-sustaining actors in
development. The conventional wisdom is that womens’ empowerment depends
on following a simple strategy—alleviate poverty by spending large
amounts of money. Having followed this strategy in the past the author
feels that it has been far from successful. Monetary inputs by itself is
not a sufficient condition to assist women in improving their status.
The author puts forward an alternate view that the reasons why women are
disadvantaged in India, despite fifty years of development, is due to
their ignorance, powerlessness and vulnerability. This is particularly
so for those women who belong to the Scheduled Castes (Harijans) and
Scheduled Tribes (Girijans or “mountain people”).

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