Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 379–390

The visibility of women’s work for poverty reduction: implications from non-crop agricultural income-generating programs in Bangladesh



This article explores mechanisms for making poor rural women’s work visible by drawing on Amartya Sen’s intra-family “cooperative conflict” theory to explain the workings of two Bangladesh non-governmental organization’s income-generating programs (rearing poultry and rearing silkworms). On the assumption that cooperation surpasses conflict in the intra-family relations when women’s work is visible, the article identifies factors that influence intra-family conflict and cooperation. At entry, cooperation in a family depends on how successfully the family can make women’s income-generating activities compatible with their existing household responsibilities and with continuation of the male breadwinner’s income source. In women’s continuing work, the level of cooperation depends greatly on the amount and frequency of women’s income and the family’s level of indebtedness. Families with a male breadwinner having a regular income source tended to offer a more cooperative environment to women’s work than those with a breadwinner involved in casual labor. Women’s work as a second regular income source can make their work more visible and contribute to their families’ upward mobility.


Bangladesh Cooperative conflict Intra-family relations Non-governmental organization Poultry Rural poverty Sericulture Women’s work 



Income generating


Institute of Integrated Rural Development


Non-governmental organization


Taka (unit of currency Bangladesh)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrated Research System for Sustainability ScienceUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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