Vol. 4, Issue 1 (2019)
Role of self-help groups on reproductive autonomy of women
Author(s): S Girijakumari, V Brindha
Abstract: Background: Women’s autonomy in reproductive health decision making is extremely important for better Maternal and Child Health outcomes and an indicator of Women empowerment. Poverty and anti-autonomy believes deny women’s control over their lives. Investment in education, health, and women empowerment is necessary to improve women’s reproductive autonomy. Self Help Groups (SHGs) are being seen as the main stay for poverty alleviation by micro credit system, empowering women economically and socially. It tries to remove the limitations emerging due to poor socio economic status thereby enhancing social security in form of better educational attainment and improved reproductive and child health outcomes which is intrinsically valuable for women and instrumental for the welfare of humankind. Objectives: To assess the level of participation of women in SHG activities, the level of reproductive autonomy of SHG women and to associate it with selected demographic variables. Methods: A descriptive study was conducted among 44 SHG women by using convenient sampling technique at Coimbatore. An interview schedule was used to collect data regarding the socio demographic variables, participation of women in SHG activities and changes in reproductive autonomy of the SHG women. The collected data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: Results reveal that 39% of women are between 25-29 years of age; 39% of women and their spouses have education until high school level; 73% of women are employed and from nuclear family; and 32% of women have 2 children; 75% of women show increased reproductive autonomy after joining SHG. There is a significant correlation between the reproductive autonomy of women and their age, number of years in the group, group size, and frequency of meeting attended at 0.05 level of significance. Conclusion: The study reveals that participation in SHG activities improves the reproductive autonomy of women.