Work and Family Balance: Challenges Faced By Rural Women from Microfinance Groups

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:10
Oral Presentation
Aditi DEY SARKAR, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India
Microfinance is a burgeoning area across the globe creating complex relations between Global North and South, not least in terms of financial relations but also impacting the micro realities of women in the form of ‘unintended consequences’. A major impact has been on the work being done by the women who are a part of the Self Help Groups involved in microfinance activities. The State Poverty Eradication Mission of Kerala, was established in 1997 and comprised of a federation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) of women. The cornerstone of the movement was the microfinance activities conducted by members of the SHGs. Besides providing opportunities for entrepreneurship, the State established organization encouraged the women to volunteer in flagship programs (also instituted by the State) for the destitute, elderly and differently abled people in the community. This resulted in the SHG women performing what is known as the third shift of labour, the first two being work done in the household or that done for remuneration. The opportunities of work created a flow of capital, not just economic but also in the form of social and cultural capital as espoused by Pierre Bourdieu. However, it also impacted their role in the family as the work done by the SHG women was not restricted to a specific part of the day but was influential in shaping them as agents in the community and spilled over into what could be perceived as “family time”. Through this paper, I am will be exploring the complex web of relationship that the SHG women share with the State (as citizens) and the market (as consumers and entrepreneurs) and its impact on the family as the project is helmed by the State but has its roots in the neo-liberal political economy of development.