Daily bread: women’s self-help microfinance and the social meanings of money

Esther Bott*, Shalini Ojha, Sunita Mini, Rajeev Kamal Kumar, Sunil Choudhary, Gil Yaron, Alan R. Smyth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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In this article, we explore the impacts and implications of ‘Rojiroti’, a women’s self-help group (SHG) microfinance scheme operating in poor communities in Bihar, India. We focus particularly on how improvements found in women’s circumstances and in children’s health might result from Rojiroti SHG membership. Through data from 5 focus groups and 19 individual interviews with women in communities where Rojiroti operates, we discover how the scheme is regarded and how it affects women’s management of household budgets. Moreover, we explore the relational aspects of SHG microfinance and the ways that it can alter family and social dynamics. Drawing on notions of ‘earmarked’ money and ‘safeguarded’ money, we argue that the money itself has meaning and non-pecuniary value in the form of other currencies, including power and agency, which can lead to the improved well-being and health of families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-461
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The authors gratefully acknowledge the AHRC-MRC Global Public Health Partnership, which generously funded this research. Award number MC_PC_MR/R024596/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • children’s health
  • India
  • microfinance
  • self-help groups
  • social meanings of money
  • women’s status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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