Social enterprises are receiving continuous attention of policy makers, researchers and practitioners. During the last decades it has been recognized as an imperative and untapped source for economic development. However, there is a dearth of reliable and detailed picture of the role of social enterprises on women empowerment particularly in the Agriculture sector. Thus, the study attempted to explore the role of social enterprises on women empowerment and the moderating effect of personal constraints on the relationship between the perceived benefits of social enterprises and women empowerment. The study purposively selected social enterprises operated under private organizations, people’s organization and Cooperatives. Thereby 210 women entrepreneurs engaged in these social enterprises were selected using simple random technique. The study employed a quantitative methods of data collection, which included a structured questionnaire followed by interviews of key informants. One sample t test, Factor Analysis, Pearson Correlation, and Moderated Linear Regression analysis were used to analyze the data. The dependent variable of the study was women empowerment and the independent variables were the perceived benefits through “resource mobility”, “community-based development”, “community-based service provision”. The moderator variable was personal constraints. The overall Women empowerment index of the sample women farmers was 3. 9641 highlighting that the women farmers engaged in social enterprises were highly empowered. The results revealed that Resource mobility had a strong significant and strong positive relationship with women empowerment and Community based development had a weak positive relationship with women empowerment. However, majority of the women farmers perceived lack of capital, lack of family support and gender biasness and non-acceptance as the personal constraints they faced. The results also indicated that personal constraints have moderated the relationship between resource mobility and women empowerment (β = 0. 160., p=0.026). The results revealed that the role of social enterprises especially in mobilizing the resources will be affected by the personal constraints faced by the women farmers. However social enterprises could be used as a key driver for empowering the rural women farmers.
Keywords: Social enterprises, Perceived benefits, Women empowerment, Personal constraint