NGO Promoted Microcredit Programs and Women's Empowerment in Rural Bangladesh
Introduction: Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in rural Bangladesh are reaching out to poor women with collateral-free credit programs aimed at both alleviating poverty and increasing women's status. The present study investigated the hypothesis that participation in credit-related activities by NGO credit members leads to greater empowerment of credit members compared to nonmembers.
To measure the status of empowerment of rural women (both members and non members of the micro-credit organization) in the selected areas
To ascertain the factors related to empowerment of women and
To assess ...view middle of the document...
Microcredit is a financial innovation that is generally considered to have originated with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. In that country, it has successfully enabled extremely impoverished people to engage in self-employment projects that allow them to generate an income and, in many cases, begin to build wealth and exit poverty
Role of Microcredit in Women Empowerment:
The Role of microcredit on women’s empowerment at the individual level shows mixed results. While access to microfinance can and does make vital contributions to the economic productivity and social well-being of poor women and their households, it does not automatically empower women who seek to bring about a radical structural transformation. On one hand, microfinance is still promising as one of the strategies of development. Women’s empowerment through microfinance might lead to gender equality through enhanced self-confidence, resources, coping abilities, freedom of choice and power-relations. It also contributes substantially to the well-being of women, reduces women’s vulnerability and poverty, and provides stable and continuous income for family. In this context, microfinance can be considered as a progressive gender and development policy. However, the achievements of microfinance on women’s empowerment contain risks for women’s and the family’s security. There are also several quantitative and qualitative factors which could contribute to women’s empowerment, particularly qualitative ones, for instance, religious beliefs, household type, and husbands’ attitudes.In the last two decades, microcredit programs have been operated by government (GOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Bangladesh. The prime objective of these programs is to enhance the income-earning potential of female borrowers of rural families, and empower them socially and economically. This program helped rural women working in paddy husking, poultry farming, petty trading (e.g., grocery), pond aquaculture, animal husbandry, weaving, mini-garments, handicrafts, dairy farming, and plant nursery activities (which all tend to be homebased in nature). Microcredit programs substantially contribute to the socioeconomic development of the rural women in this country. Studies show that the microcredit programs have created significant positive differences in the socioeconomic lives of the rural women in Bangladesh (Hashemi, 1998; Schuler, Hashemi & Riley, 1997). Microcredit programs have also helped the rural women to be involved in home-based economic activities, which in turn, have created enormous opportunities for them to be independent and self-sufficient. Studies also show that the involvement of rural women in home-based economic activities through microcredit programs has a positive socioeconomic impact on their lives, as well as their families. The positive impact of microcredit programs can be discussed in two ways. Firstly, microcredit programs create employment opportunity,...