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Does Microfinance Address Women’s Strategic Gender Needs? Experience from Empirical Research

Year 2023, Volume: 5 Issue: 2, 38 - 43, 31.12.2023

Abstract

Purpose: The paper aims to analyze the impact of microfinance programs on women’s empowerment needs in Bangladesh. It seeks to explore how involvement in microfinance programs influences the recipients and their children’s health and education, asset ownership and control, and gender division of labor of women.
Methods: This study has adopted a qualitative case study design. Thirty-two recipients of microcredit loans were selected through purposive network sampling from two of the leading nongovernmental organizations of Bangladesh. Primary data of this study were collected through in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, and focus group discussion. Nongovernmental organization officials and staff and female borrowers’ husbands were the key informants. Collected primary data were analyzed thematically.
Results: Findings of this study revealed that microfinance programs have a positive impact over the practical gender needs of the female borrowers as it enables them to access better health care and education for themselves and their children. However, microfinance has minimal role in meeting their strategic gender needs as it hardly addresses existing disparities in gender division of labor and subordination of women in Bangladeshi society.
Conclusion: The paper concludes that microfinance organization can be treated as a multi-level construct, at global, state, community, and individual levels. Women and their children are benefited through microfinance. While microfinance empowers women by meeting their practical gender needs, it does not address the socially created gender division of labor let alone it puts extra work burden on women.

References

  • Abed, F. H. (2000). Microfinance NGOs in Bangladesh: Growth, impact, challenges. Paper presented at the Asian Regional Conference on the potential and limitations of economic initiatives in grassroots development - Current issues and Asian experiences, November. Rajendrapur, Bangladesh.
  • Bhuiyan, A. B., Siwar, C., Ismail, A. G., & Hossain, T. B. (2013). Microcredit impact on children’s education and women empowerment: A review experience of Grameen bank microfinance schemes in Bangladesh. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, 5(1), 66–71.
  • Debnath, D., Rahman, M. S., Acharjee, D. C., Latif, W. U., & Wang, L. (2019). Empowering women through microcredit in Bangladesh: An empirical study. International Journal of Financial Studies, 7(3).
  • Halder, S. R. (n.d.). The BRAC micro-finance approach and its impact at individual, household and beyond household levels: A synthesis. https://www.findevgateway.org/sites/default/f​iles/publications/files/mfg-en-case-study-the-brac-microfinance-approach-and-its-impact-at-individual-household-and-beyond-household-levels-a-synthesis-2004.pdf
  • Hazarika, G., & Sarangi, S. (2008). Household access to microcredit and child work in rural Malawi. World Development, 36(5), 843–859.
  • March, C., Smyth, I., & Mukhopadhyay, M. (1999). A guide to gender-analysis frameworks. Oxfam Publishing.
  • Moser, C. (1993). Gender planning and development: Theory, practice, and training. Routledge.
  • Nawaz, F. (2015). From gender disparity to women’s empowerment (Doctoral Dissertation). Flinders University.
  • Nawaz, F., & Bushra, A. N. (2023). Pandemic Paradox: Unveiling the Gendered Impact of COVID-19 in Bangladesh. HORIZON: Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences Research, 5(1), 63–76.
  • Nawaz, F., & McLaren, H. J. (2016). Silencing the hardship: Bangladeshi women, microfinance and reproductive work. Social Alternatives, 35(1), 19–25.
  • Shimamura, Y., & Lastarria-Cornhiel, S. (2010). Credit program participation and child schooling in rural Malawi. World Development, 38(4), 567–580.
  • Wattoo, Z. A., Ayuub, S., Shabbir, M. S., Baloch, U., & Nasar, H. (2015). Strategies for empowering women and gender equality through microfinance in Pakistan. International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, 5(1), 228–238.

Does Microfinance Address Women’s Strategic Gender Needs? Experience from Empirical Research

Year 2023, Volume: 5 Issue: 2, 38 - 43, 31.12.2023

Abstract

Purpose: The paper aims to analyze the impact of microfinance programs on women’s empowerment needs in Bangladesh. It seeks to explore how involvement in microfinance programs influences the recipients and their children’s health and education, asset ownership and control, and gender division of labor of women.
Methods: This study has adopted a qualitative case study design. Thirty-two recipients of microcredit loans were selected through purposive network sampling from two of the leading nongovernmental organizations of Bangladesh. Primary data of this study were collected through in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, and focus group discussion. Nongovernmental organization officials and staff and female borrowers’ husbands were the key informants. Collected primary data were analyzed thematically.
Results: Findings of this study revealed that microfinance programs have a positive impact over the practical gender needs of the female borrowers as it enables them to access better health care and education for themselves and their children. However, microfinance has minimal role in meeting their strategic gender needs as it hardly addresses existing disparities in gender division of labor and subordination of women in Bangladeshi society.
Conclusion: The paper concludes that microfinance organization can be treated as a multi-level construct, at global, state, community, and individual levels. Women and their children are benefited through microfinance. While microfinance empowers women by meeting their practical gender needs, it does not address the socially created gender division of labor let alone it puts extra work burden on women.

References

  • Abed, F. H. (2000). Microfinance NGOs in Bangladesh: Growth, impact, challenges. Paper presented at the Asian Regional Conference on the potential and limitations of economic initiatives in grassroots development - Current issues and Asian experiences, November. Rajendrapur, Bangladesh.
  • Bhuiyan, A. B., Siwar, C., Ismail, A. G., & Hossain, T. B. (2013). Microcredit impact on children’s education and women empowerment: A review experience of Grameen bank microfinance schemes in Bangladesh. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, 5(1), 66–71.
  • Debnath, D., Rahman, M. S., Acharjee, D. C., Latif, W. U., & Wang, L. (2019). Empowering women through microcredit in Bangladesh: An empirical study. International Journal of Financial Studies, 7(3).
  • Halder, S. R. (n.d.). The BRAC micro-finance approach and its impact at individual, household and beyond household levels: A synthesis. https://www.findevgateway.org/sites/default/f​iles/publications/files/mfg-en-case-study-the-brac-microfinance-approach-and-its-impact-at-individual-household-and-beyond-household-levels-a-synthesis-2004.pdf
  • Hazarika, G., & Sarangi, S. (2008). Household access to microcredit and child work in rural Malawi. World Development, 36(5), 843–859.
  • March, C., Smyth, I., & Mukhopadhyay, M. (1999). A guide to gender-analysis frameworks. Oxfam Publishing.
  • Moser, C. (1993). Gender planning and development: Theory, practice, and training. Routledge.
  • Nawaz, F. (2015). From gender disparity to women’s empowerment (Doctoral Dissertation). Flinders University.
  • Nawaz, F., & Bushra, A. N. (2023). Pandemic Paradox: Unveiling the Gendered Impact of COVID-19 in Bangladesh. HORIZON: Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences Research, 5(1), 63–76.
  • Nawaz, F., & McLaren, H. J. (2016). Silencing the hardship: Bangladeshi women, microfinance and reproductive work. Social Alternatives, 35(1), 19–25.
  • Shimamura, Y., & Lastarria-Cornhiel, S. (2010). Credit program participation and child schooling in rural Malawi. World Development, 38(4), 567–580.
  • Wattoo, Z. A., Ayuub, S., Shabbir, M. S., Baloch, U., & Nasar, H. (2015). Strategies for empowering women and gender equality through microfinance in Pakistan. International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, 5(1), 228–238.

Details

Primary Language English
Subjects Women's Studies
Journal Section Research Articles
Authors

Faraha NAWAZ This is me 0000-0001-8986-9017

Publication Date December 31, 2023
Published in Issue Year 2023 Volume: 5 Issue: 2

Cite

APA NAWAZ, F. (2023). Does Microfinance Address Women’s Strategic Gender Needs? Experience from Empirical Research. Advances in Women’s Studies, 5(2), 38-43.

Content of this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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