Job Guarantee as Tool for Women’s Empowerment: Propensity Score Matching Analysis

  •  Ashutosh Kumar    
  •  Rahul Singh    


Women’s empowerment relies on access to resources routed through micro-credit, cash transfers, self-employment, or wage-based employment. Educational qualifications such as formal education or vocational training provide the routes for employment. However, the Indian job guarantee program Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) ensures a minimum of 100 days of job guarantee to anyone willing to work without any eligibility criteria related to formal education. While gendered provisions in the program are intended to encourage women’s participation to make them self-reliant, the safety net features also protect their dignity. Therefore, aspects related to women's empowerment, such as their more significant say in household decision-making, may likely be impacted by the program. In addition, the program provides institutional support to women and access to resources through the wages earned. Analysis based on the robust propensity score matching analysis suggests that the women have been empowered from the point of view of household decision making. A similar analysis also holds for the women from the vulnerable sections of society. Hence, although intended for poverty alleviation, the programme acts as a tool for empowering rural women in India.

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