Impact of Microfinance on Women’s Economic Empowerment
This chapter evaluates the impact of microfinance on women’s economic empowerment in rural Bangladesh. In this book, women’s empowerment is conceptualized as power to, power with, power within and power over relationships that represent the economic, socio-cultural, psychological/self and political empowerment of women respectively. For the purpose of analysing the data, microfinance intervention is evaluated by considering the women’s circumstances before and after joining microfinance groups. In each case the woman’s state of empowerment in terms of transformation of gender power relations during her group membership in microfinance programs is observed. By comparing particular issues and actions before and after joining the microfinance programs, the chapter highlights the critical role of microfinance on women’s economic empowerment in the household and community arenas. The chapter presents a continuum of cases from the least to the most empowered women on the basis of the types of entrepreneurial activities they undertook.