THE MAHILA SAMAKHYA PROGRAM: EMPOWERING EDUCATION FOR WOMEN’S EQUALITY IN INDIAN DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES AND RURAL AREAS

Gemma Barberillo Nualart

Abstract


ABSTRACT

 

In India the women’s movement and the government have done much to ameliorate women’s education and to build the gender gap. However, it is argued that India still has much gender inequalities embedded in society and, as a consequence, in education and that there is much work to be done in terms of implementation. An alternative form of education, the Mahila Samakhya Program, was launched in India in 1988 for the education and empowerment of women in rural areas and disadvantaged communities in order to achieve equality. The Mahila Sanghas or women’s collectives were created to provide a space for women and girls to meet, reflect, ask questions and express their thoughts. This article argues for the implementation of an empowering education, apart from the formal education, to help women and girls overcome inequalities especially in education. It aims to prove how this empowering education increases education for poor women in rural areas, especially for girls. It examines the quality and results of the existing Mahila Samakhya program analyzing the empowering process. The case study will be the Indian state of Bihar and two theories of empowerment will be applied.


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