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Role of cooperatives in economic empowerment of women: a review of Indian experiences

Nisha Bharti (Symbiosis Institute of International Business, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Pune, India)

World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2042-5961

Article publication date: 4 August 2021

Issue publication date: 7 September 2021




Women establish about half of the world's population and constitute a significant part of the workforce. Women's empowerment is considered as an entry point for women's integration and inclusion into development. Economic independence is recognized as the key to women's empowerment. Economic independence provides women with autonomy in other aspects of their life. By organizing them into groups and providing financial freedom by enhancing the livelihood of women, cooperatives are playing an essential role in the empowerment of women. In the last two decades, self-help group (SHGs) has evolved as an informal form of cooperative and has played a very important role in women empowerment.


This paper is an attempt to explore the role of cooperatives in women empowerment. Firstly, an intensive search of literature was done to identify the role of cooperatives in bringing women empowerment in the Scopus database. This data were analysed to look at the trends in research using VOSviewer. Later, the findings of this study are supported by field observation.


The paper also develops a framework for women empowerment through cooperatives and reviews the field experiences to support the framework. The paper concludes that the theory of economic modernity holds true for women empowerment, as economic independence through cooperatives has helped women gain access to control over resources and led to women empowerment.

Research limitations/implications

The paper develops a framework and supports the findings that economic independence is a key to women empowerment, and cooperatives are playing an important role in the same. It will help practitioners in framing the policies and interventions for women empowerment. The findings of the paper will be helpful in setting directions for research in this domain.


The paper is an original contribution as it has reviewed literature and used VOSviewer. Along with the review, it has supported the findings from qualitative observations from the field.



Bharti, N. (2021), "Role of cooperatives in economic empowerment of women: a review of Indian experiences", World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 617-631.



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