PDF_logo Impact of Microfinance on Women Empowerment in North-Western Region of Bangladesh-PRIME as a Case Study

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Impact of Microfinance on Women Empowerment in North-Western Region of Bangladesh-PRIME as a Case Study

Paper No:38

Author:Anwara Begum and Nahid Akhter



In a country like Bangladesh, poverty alleviation is one of the prime concerns of any development plan, where equality and considerable equity needs to be ensured. Women embrace nearly half of the population of the country, but they, especially from the poverty stricken groups, are more vulnerable in terms of denial of fundamental human rights.  Microfinance, as a development program, primarily targets the poor female clients. From a development perspective, it could be expected that provision of financial resources and effective utilization of those resources can strengthen women’s economic roles, shifting resources to their hand and gaining recognition for their roles. In due course, it is also anticipated that it would empower women and fade the traditional inequality.This paper attempts to assess the effectiveness of one of the special microcredit program (PRIME) in promoting women’s life living in the sever poverty stricken areas of rural Bangladesh. Taking into consideration the existing complex and conflicting results from the other studies, here indicators of women empowerment has been captured very carefully. Total 54 items have been gathered to address ten indicators, which are mobility, financial security, purchasing power, involvement in decision making, control over entire process of loan use, freedom from dominance within the family, political and legal awareness, and participation in public protest. In order to generate an aggregate index for women empowerment, a popular Item Response Theory (IRT) model namely, Rasch test for dichotomous responses has been pursued, which was previously undertaken by one revealing study done by Pitt, Khandker and Cartwright (2006). Results are steady with the view that there is a significant positive association between microcredit and women empowerment.

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