Women Empowerment Through Cooperative Societies


By

Dr. A. Vinayagamoorthy
Reader
Department of Commerce, Periyar University
Salem-11 TN

Dr. Vijay Pithadia
Asst. Professor
R.K. College of Business Management
Kasturbadham, Bhavnagar Road, Rajkot-360020 GJ
 


ABSTRACT

Cooperation means working together. The principle of cooperation is as old as human Society. It is truly the basis of domestic and social life. Cooperative effort is ultimately the group instinct in man, which enables him to live together and help each other in times of stress and strain. Unconsciously, the principle has always penetrated the life of human race. The history of modern civilization is in fact, the history of cooperation, for without it social and economic progress would have been impossible.

In the primitive societies the germs of cooperation could be observed in religious institutions and traditional customs. The working of these customs and institutions throw light on the instinct and tradition of mutual assistance, joint possession and joint management, which are found in the thinking and in the life of the people in all ages and all countries. In India, for instance, the principle of cooperation has been practiced from times immemorial. The spirit of village communities of India was almost entirely cooperative.

In the modern technical sense the genesis of cooperative movement and its applications in the economic field can be traced after the industrial revolution which took place in England during the second half of eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century. Today, cooperatives are the most important type of voluntary organization throughout the world. In some countries, they are principal form of organization in agriculture, marketing and provision of credit and distribution of consumer goods.

On an overall assessment, it can be concluded that cooperatives are rendering fruitful services to the society concerned especially to women. The survey reveals that the women are able to enrich their lives. They are fully satisfied with services rendered by these cooperative societies. They got recognition in the society and also economic interdependence in the family. Hence, it is needless to say that cooperatives are playing a very important role in the empowerment of women through various schemes.

Introduction

Cooperation means working together. The principle of cooperation is as old as human Society. It is truly the basis of domestic and social life. Cooperative effort is ultimately the group instinct in man, which enables him to live together and help each other in times of stress and strain. Unconsciously, the principle has always penetrated the life of human race. The history of modern civilization is in fact, the history of cooperation, for without it social and economic progress would have been impossible.

Concept

In the primitive societies the germs of cooperation could be observed in religious institutions and traditional customs. The working of these customs and institutions throw light on the instinct and tradition of mutual assistance, joint possession and joint management, which are found in the thinking and in the life of the people in all ages and all countries. In India, for instance, the principle of cooperation has been practiced from times immemorial. The spirit of village communities of India was almost entirely cooperative. The villages have throughout the ages worked together on an informal corporate basis with regard to their religious and social and cultural life.

In the modern technical sense the genesis of cooperative movement and its applications in the economic field can be traced after the industrial revolution which took place in England during the second half of eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century. Today, cooperatives are the most important type of voluntary organization throughout the world. In some countries, they are principal form of organization in agriculture, marketing and provision of credit and distribution of consumer goods.  The movement now covers about 98% of the villages and 62% of the total rural population. The caste, color, Religion etc., have not been any bar for the development of the cooperative movement. The working of the cooperative movement all over the world clearly demonstrates that there is hardly any economic need that cannot be met by organizing cooperative societies and hardly any form social or political organization with which they cannot be reconciled or integrated. The cooperative societies have helped to improve security of tenure of land; to consolidate holdings; to promote conservation of natural resources; to facilitate land settlement to foster  the all important  growth and speed of technical  knowledge for  better  farming to secure savings and administer credit; to reduce the  charges  made  for production requisites and use of the larger capital items for farm and small scale industrial production  to reduce charges for consumer goods and services including   housing to improve the marketing of farm products to minimize  risks and to lower the costs of insurance. They have promoted education both general and vocational. They have provided effective training in democracy and self -government. They have been neither class-bound nor state-bound. They have maintained or increased that sense of interdependence so important for social progress.

Economic and Social Benefits

From the economic stand point, cooperatives are engaged in securing   for their members services of various socio-economic activities in the consolidation of holdings, the establishment of irrigation schemes, the contouring of land, the procurement of technical knowledge, the administration credit, the buying of fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, electricity and machine services, of consumers' goods and services, the processing and marketing of produce, the provision of insurance, health and medical care or education. Cooperation has also played an important role in checking monopolistic tendencies.

The social purposes of Cooperation are more diverse than economic purposes. They may be to provide a unique   education in democracy, responsibility and toleration to train for political power to evolve an industrial relationship in which the element of authority is much more evenly distributed than in private business to preserve a strong friendly or family spirit and a sense of pride and power which is impersonal to encourage a general advance rather than the advance of particular individuals to secure rational, constructive and unifying approaches to social and economic problems to prevent under-employment to secure the moral as well as  the physical satisfaction of pure, quality, correct weight, honest measure, fair dealing in trade or to achieve better physical and mental  health. The distinguishing characteristic and social features of Cooperative societies may in many circumstances make these essential to the achievement of their purposes.

Women are not only acting as a primarily obedient daughters, wives and mothers in the society, but also they are acting   as Women entrepreneurs in the modern society to make themselves independent and support family in the economic background and to keep social prestige. The rapid growth of women owned business is one of the most important economic developments of recent times. They have started their business at more than twice the rate of men. A majority of women owned business are small retail or service firms and tend to be owned by one person. The areas chosen by women are retail trade, restaurants, and hotels, education, cultural, cleaning, insurance and manufacturing. The Cooperatives play an important   in uplifting their lives through various schemes.

At present 130 cooperative societies are functioning exclusively for women under the control of social welfare department apart from the schemes like micro credit plan, personal loan, salary loan, entrepreneur loan etc.

A survey, which has been conducted among the women beneficiaries of cooperative sector in Kanyakumari district in this regard; reveals the following This   average age is 45, having different education from school to post graduates, doing various activities like agriculture, business, tailoring and other employment, and the average income is Rs.40000. They have availed loan under various schemes for women and the average lag in getting loan is 125 days. The average amount taken by them is Rs.37, 500 with the average interest rate of 15%.They have utilized the loan under various purposes like self employment, agriculture, business, family expenditure etc. The impact of getting loan has been analyzed with the help of the following formula by considering the respective items both before and after availing the loan.

The result or impact in getting loan and the utilization of the same lies in the increase in the income and the reflection on increase in the expenditure, assets, home appliances, reduction in the loan and improvement of the standard of living. The survey that has been conducted on studying the impact of loans through cooperatives to women reveals the following. Out of the sample beneficiaries, 94%are able to increase their income, 34%have reduced their loan 56% are able to increase their expenditure pattern, for all the respondents (100%), increase their assets in the way of business, agricultural equipments, land, building and the like are possible, 62% are able to increase their livestock, 86%are able to increase  t the home appliances like mixie, grinder etc., 52% have shifted their standard   of  living from low to average,30% from average  to high  and 12% from low to high with overall improvement of 94%.

Regarding the attitude of the respondents towards the preference of cooperative banks, they do prefer it mainly because of the easy installment facilities which is followed by the services rendered by them, the prevalence of less formalities, less interest rate, more subsides, counseling they got, training facilities and the availability of more branches.

Conclusion

On an overall assessment, it can be concluded that cooperatives are rendering fruitful services to the society concerned especially to women. The survey reveals that the women are able to enrich their lives. They are fully satisfied with services rendered by these cooperative societies. They got recognition in the society and also economic interdependence in the family. Hence, it is needless to say that cooperatives are playing a very important role in the empowerment of women through various schemes.
 


Dr. A. Vinayagamoorthy
Reader
Department of Commerce, Periyar University
Salem-11 TN

Dr. Vijay Pithadia
Asst. Professor
R.K. College of Business Management
Kasturbadham, Bhavnagar Road, Rajkot-360020 GJ
 

Source: E-mail June 4, 2007

       

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