The chapter presents a critical look at the importance and impact of funding priorities for women’s empowerment programs (specifically those that target violence against women or VAW) in a state that has been declared “developed” by the government. The location of research is Gujarat, India, a “model state” with official reports of zero VAW incidents. Based on seven years of research experience in the state, and drawing from a range of qualitative data resulting from interviews and participant observations, findings suggest that social and cultural changes require decades and generations of support, as progress in these areas is slower compared to the achievement of economic goals. These programs are often dependent on donor funds, and the impact of empowerment is often not fully realized before funding runs out, as government and international funding agencies are no longer prioritizing gender equality programs in Gujarat due to its “developed” status. Local women’s organizations now depend on grants that result from corporate social responsibility. These funds, like all resources from funding agencies, come with their own dictates on how the money is to be used (sanitation; education; health vs. tackling VAW), leaving the organizations’ goals of ending gender inequality compromised. The impact of lack of funds is greater in the programs that focus on ending VAW, compared to the ones that focus on economic empowerment.
The research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (SES-1658249) and small research grants from three centers at Michigan State University: the Asian Studies Center, the Center for Gender in Global Context, and the Center for Advanced Study of International Development. We thank the Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group and the Self Employed Women’s Association for their help with data collection.
Chaudhuri, S. and Morash, M. (2019), "Analyzing the Importance of Funding for Gender Focused Empowerment Programs", Demos, V., Segal, M.T. and Kelly, K. (Ed.) Gender and Practice: Insights from the Field (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 27), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 167-181. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-212620190000027010
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