Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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Abstract Details

Learning About Women, Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, and the Environment in India: A Case Study
Vol. Volume 12, Number 4 December/2007

Nancy Bertaux and Elaine Crable

On a recent semester-long stay in India, students from Xavier University ( Cincinnati, Ohio) learned about a variety of social and economic development issues, with an emphasis on the role and status of women. This study describes and assesses the impact and effectiveness of their learning with a particular focus on their exposure to Meerut Seva Samaj (MSS), one economic development initiative concentrating on rural women.

The Indian economy has recently witnessed an increase in entrepreneurship among women. Entrepreneurship often allows women to engage in home-based work so that they still can attend to their domestic duties, while also helping to financially support the family. Banks, companies, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are finding that offering micro-credit, or small loans, and other types of entrepreneurial assistance can help women start businesses. Meerut Seva Samaj provides a concrete example of how Indian women, especially in rural areas, can become successful entrepreneurs with the help of technology, training and other resources. MSS also assists local communities in the use of biogas, an environmentally friendly energy source that improves the environment and fertility of land in rural areas. The study places this service learning case study from India in the context of the literature on women, economic development, entrepreneurship and environmental issues.