Over the past few decades, governments across the world have increasingly recognized the importance of empowering women and have committed themselves to this end. Empowerment of women, especially rural women, has also been seen as a crucial means to eradicate poverty. However, the majority of women empowerment and poverty eradication programs are grounded solely on economic approaches and psychological perspectives remain largely ignored. This paper argues that economic empowerment of women is incomplete without their psychological empowerment. Mental well-being is an important precursor to economic wellbeing. Rural women face unique psychosocial stressors, including scarcity that predisposes them to mental illnesses. This is likely to hinder their productivity which, in turn, perpetuates poverty. In the absence of a strong psychological buffer, any attempt to empower women to address poverty is likely to be unsuccessful. There is a massive dearth of programs addressing mental health issues to ensure psychological empowerment. This paper offers certain psychosocial models and perspectives to women’s empowerment and its role in alleviating poverty. It is imminent that these perspectives be used to guide poverty eradication programs along with the current economic approaches.
Psychological Empowerment: The Key to Mobilizing Rural Women as Agents of Poverty Eradication
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