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Women’s empowerment is a process in which women challenge the existing norms and culture in efforts to promote their well being. This paper analyses the signifcance and effect of programmes by Self Help Groups (SHGs) by comparing empowerment levels before and after three years of programme intervention based on a survey conducted the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The SHGs in Chennai operate under Mahallir Thittam, a state government programme funded by the Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women (TNCDW). The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) empowerment indices are used to study levels of empowerment. Quantitative methodology is adopted using the self-reporting method. A three-stage stratifed random sampling method was employed for data collection. The frst stage involved the NGOs, the second stage focused on the SHGs and the third stage dealt with SHG members on the basis of demographics. Average and percentage were calculated to draw meaningful interpretation on the Empowerment Indicators using IFAD Model. Friedman test, Chi Square test and Anova followed by a DMRT test were used to measure the relationship between observed variables. The study revealed that levels of self-confdence and self-esteem of women increased indicating positive changes. The women in SHGs emerged as more assertive of their rights, in particular when dealing with the local community and on social matters.
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