In the last two inputs, we have set out what we know so far about the reasons for women getting stuck, feeling out of control, and why an SRG might disrupt this process. Here are the two diagrams summarising that evidence.
This top part the diagram could form the basis for a conventional logic model or theory of change -descriptions of how and why change is expected to happen- used in outcome evaluations. These models are useful in making us think, challenging presumptions and giving us a sense of what might be measured.
Not everybody is crazy about these models. They have become a standard tool, and so can loose their meaning and function -to get us thinking! Plus, they speak to order, to linear progression. A logic model sets out the inputs (e.g. money), outputs (e.g. staff members), outcomes (better health) and impact (a world free of pestilence!). One part of the model seems inevitably to lead to another.
But of course the real world isn’t much like a logic model. And the work with SRG members makes that very clear.
For the women there is a continual battle between the external stressors and the encouragement for enterprise provided by the SRGs. Sometimes the external pressure wins out, sometimes the SRGs win out.
The effects of SRGs described in the previous inputs are real. But the pressures on women don’t go away. The social disincentives to change, for example, remain. The alcoholic partner remains. Children will still get sick and have to stay off school and disrupt the women’s enterprise.
Talking about change to women in SRGs reveals a dynamic model more akin to the lives we all live, and not a linear process of improvement that researchers and funding organisations like to see when describing other people’s lives.
For the women there is a continual battle between the external stressors and the encouragement for enterprise provided by the SRGs. Sometimes the external pressure wins out, sometimes the SRGs win out. Like all of us, sometimes they are in control of their destiny, sometimes they are not. SRGs don’t fix women or lead them to a life happy ever after. The SRGs disrupt the pattern of women’s lives, a pattern that includes more and longer periods of control.