Women's Empowerment in Bangladesh: Credit is Not a Panacea

How great is the impact of credit on women's empowerment?
Download 25 pages

Gender relations are deeply embedded in the Bangladeshi society. Therefore, changing gender relations is difficult and requires a long-term process. This paper seeks to assess the impact of credit on women's empowerment. The specific objectives of the research are to explore the following key questions:

  • What are the impacts of credit on women's economic, social, political and psychological empowerment, taking account of the possibility of different impacts on different groups of women?
  • What explains these impacts?
  • What are the policy implications of these findings?

The paper finds that there has been an exaggeration regarding the gender empowerment impact of credit. In practice, credit provision is only a step on the long road of empowering poor rural women. The credit schemes of the MFIs are not a panacea to women's empowerment in Bangladesh. MFIs alone cannot bring about the required change in the society to empower women; all other sectors including government agencies and NGOs have to bring changes in all their policies to create a suitable enabling environment to reverse the age old gender related societal systems.

[Based on the author's abstract]

About this Publication

By Khondkar, M.