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Enhancing Women’s Empowerment At The Grass Root Level Through Commun Ity-Based Enterprises: The Case Study Of Gram Mooligai Limited (GMCL)

Torri, MC

January 2008

The majority of the past and current experience of community enterprise programmes for women such as producer groups and cooperatives, has failed to make any significant impact on women's incomes and social empowerment. Most of these programmes have benefited better-off women and cannot be assumed neither to have had a beneficial impact on gender inequalities inside rural societies. In many cases they have increased workloads for the women involved without increasing their access to incomes within the household. This failure points out the difficulty of adapting the concept of 'entrepreneurship' to different women's needs in terms of economic and social results.

The article, based on ethnographic research methods, presents an organizational analysis of a women's community enterprise in India, which is called GMCL (Gram Mooligai Company Limited). GMCL has been promoted by local NGOs in the state of Tamil Nadu and is an example of a community women's enterprise able to deliver interesting economic and social outcomes for women. The paper assesses the impact of this latter on enhancing economical and social empowerment of women. It further analyzes the social significance of this women's enterprise and its potential in promoting capacity building and local development. The approach followed by this community enterprise initiative and its relationship between stakeholders reveal the need to see community enterprise programmes in a much more holistic light than is conventionally understood.

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