This is a book about understanding women’s empowerment and pathways as well as roadblocks to women’s economic empowerment in rural India, as understood through an evaluation-based research of a state-funded social sector programme located in the education department – Mahila Samakhya (MS) – in Bihar, one of the socially and educationally most underdeveloped Indian states. The book presents findings of the three-year research that adopted a mixed-methods approach and evaluated the impact of MS on various facets of empowerment of women coming from the most marginalized communities. The study, therefore, tries to go beyond evaluating the MS programme and uses the research findings and insights to raise certain critical issues pertaining to social policy planning and implementation, especially in the context of women’s education and empowerment.
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1. Empowerment, Education and Social Change: Understanding the conceptual context of Mahila Samakhya 2. Women in Bihar: the multivalent contexts of deprivation and struggle 3. Women’s economic empowerment: Indivisible part of a synergetic process 4. Breaking the cycle: Understanding the inter-generational impact of MS 5. Economics of Empowerment: A Web of Negotiations and Adjustments 6. Conclusion: Lessons for understanding pathways to women’s empowerment