Document Type : Research Paper
Ph.D student of geography and rural planning in University of Zanjan
Assistant Professor of Geography and rural planning in University of Zanjan
Introduction: In most developing countries, rural women have limited resources and jobs. Therefore, development strategies to create multiple opportunities for them by participating in various activities aimed at rural development can empower women. Self-help groups, as one of the most important empowerment strategies for women, are of great importance in employment, income generation, poverty reduction, export promotion and foreign exchange earnings in developing countries. The concept of SHGs is small informal associations created to create members' ability to make a profit through mutual assistance, solidarity, and shared responsibility. Their benefits include the use of savings and credit facilities and the pursuit of group activities (Anand, 2002). A group-based approach that not only enables the poor to raise capital through small savings, but also helps them access official credit facilities (Shylandra, 2004). Under shared responsibility, these groups enable the poor to overcome the problem of collateral, thereby freeing them from the clutches of the rich (Stiglitz, 2000). In addition, some of the basic characteristics of SHGs, such as membership size and homogeneity of composition, create solidarity and effective participation of members in group performance. The creation of these groups can be influenced by different geographical, political, social, cultural and economic factors. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate the factors affecting the attitude of rural women towards self-help groups in BazinehRood.
Methodology: The study was a consecutive exploratory study. The present study was conducted in two stages. In the first stage, the attitudes of rural women towards creating self-help groups were collected through interview using available sampling method. Eight villages were interviewed for this purpose by using the opinions of administrative experts (Khodabandeh Governorate staff) and village managers in order to identify them as self-help groups of rural women in the area. At this stage, before each interview, the interview protocol form was presented to the interviewee in person and a time was set for the interview. The available sampling strategy was used to select the interviewees; That is, at the end of each interview, it was attempted to identify, through the interviewee, other persons eligible for the interview. Interviews continued until the researcher felt the data had been duplicated and saturated. Accordingly, in this study, 30 rural women were interviewed and the relevant codes were extracted. In the second step, after summarizing the results of the first stage and classifying them, the researcher-made questionnaire will be used to survey and collect quantitative data through exploratory factor analysis and one-sample t-test to generalize the results of the first stage. In fact, in the second stage, the researcher seeks to prioritize the factors of attitude of rural women to self-help groups and to investigate the importance of these factors. The second statistical population of this study is rural women over 15 years old in BazinehRood District of Khodabandeh Township. In this section, 8 selected villages were selected as sample. Thirty rural women were selected as the pilot sample after the self-made questionnaire was approved by the experts. A questionnaire was distributed among them. The sampling method used is random sampling. The reliability obtained for the baseline sample using SPSS software was 0.932; therefore, the sample required to complete the researcher-made questionnaire was 290 rural women who were purposively selected.
Results and Discussion: The factors affecting the attitude of rural women towards self-help groups were classified into five factors. And the factors are 'technology acceptance and participation', 'education', 'socio-economic factors', 'marketing and entrepreneurship' and 'banking / credit' respectively. Also, the results of numerical analysis of socioeconomic dimensions, technology and partnership acceptance, marketing and entrepreneurship, education, banking / credit, respectively, indicated that the factors affecting the attitude of rural women towards self-help groups were high. One-sample t-test was used to analyze the most influential factors on the attitude of rural women towards self-help groups. The results of exploratory factor analysis were used to perform this test. Based on One-sample t-test these factors were significant at 99% level and their difference from numerical utility was evaluated positively. The results show that rural women will create self-help groups to reduce poverty, which in turn will increase rural women employment. Rural women believe that when self-help groups are set up, for some reasons, such as the use of collective capital and low manpower to carry out activities and the common use of production tools, they will generally save on the factors of production. Ultimately, these factors empower women in self-help groups. On the other hand, collective efforts in the field of self-help groups and flexibility in laws and regulations increase the efficiency of women members. Therefore, the results indicate that socio-economic factors are the most important factor in establishing self-help groups for rural women. Technology adoption and participation is the second most influential factor in creating self-help groups for rural women. The lack of in-person training and the lack of training courses for rural women has made the mass media such as television and radio more effective in transferring information and technology. Rural women also tend to engage in participatory activities with a spirit of collectivism.
Conclusion: According to the results of the research, it can be said that women self-help groups as a small informal association are very important in employment, income generation and credit facilities and follow up group activities. In this regard, different attitudes of women can have a direct impact on their participation and performance in the activities of self-help groups. Rural women may have multiple attitudes about self-help groups, As such, attitude and behavior play an important role in the field of economic investment. Although people's attitudes toward a subject cannot be directly observed, but these attitudes are relatively stable and can have a positive long-term impact on communities; therefore, it is inevitable to understand the factors affecting the attitude of rural women towards creating self-help groups. Therefore, the results of this study are effective in the theoretical development of the relationship between rural women's attitudes and the creation of self-help groups and provide tangible guidelines for understanding the attitude of rural women to policy makers and managers.