Empowerment and Health Awareness Knowledge of Rural Women
Subject: Social Science | Topics:

Main principle of this thesis is to analysis Empowerment and Health Awareness Knowledge of Rural Women in Bangladesh. This awareness knowledge has in addition increased as women usually are empowered. Their decision making power has become increased, they receive prenatal health care, assisted by birth attendants during delivery time, receive tetanus injections because they are empowered. Since they can contribute to the family economically that’s the reason they have the usage of these facilities. As an entire, empowerment is very much important aspect for women’s health recognition.

Introduction

Women present around fifty percent of the world population and in many regions of the developing world, their role is immense in all spheres of development .But in today’s world, women’s position is different from their male partners. The issues and problems related to women are not looked at and solved the way they should be. Due to gender based discrimination and socially constructed sub-ordination; women have lower status in all over of the life. The most extreme example of this discrimination can be seen in the third world countries. Bangladesh is a glaring example of this lowered status of women.

Bangladesh is a unitary, independent and sovereign republic known as Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has a landmass of 1, 47,570 square km, is inhabited by a population of 34.8 million (BBS, 04) and has the 8th largest population density in the world. Among the populations, the total female population is 65.7 million and the rural female population is almost 55 million. Among the rural women, during the year 1999-2000, total female employed was 5.9 million and unemployed was 0.5 million, in rural areas of the country (BBS, Labor Force Survey, 2002).

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an annual per capita income about US$165, and more than 50% of the population, live below the poverty level and also 18.5 million families are landless and without assets (Chickereing and Mohamed, 1991).

Bangladesh is popularly described in the literature as a “test case for development”. It earned this distinction due to its complex nature of social-economic and demographic setting coupled with severe resource constrains. The ability of the poor people to improve their standard of living is limited by inadequate resources, especially financial, poor infrastructure and inappropriate technology, inadequate nutrition and health care and the inadequacies of the projects, programs and institutions which are supposed to assist them. But the country is moving forward now, despite, what was predicted about its future viability as nations, immediately after the country’s independence in 1971.

Bangladesh has now evolved into a medium “Human Development” country. Over the year since independence it has improved its many development indicators, particularly the social ones. Infant mortality has been more than halved to less than 60 per 1000 live births. Life expectancy has increased by 60%. More important than that, the generation gap in the life expectation has now been eliminated. The education scene has also seen immense improvements. Over 85% of children now attend primary school. Happily, these improvements have favored some particular groups in the societies and they are those, who hitherto were disadvantaged or excluded. They include people from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds like life expectancy, the improvement is generally based inequality has been quite remarkable in the education sector also.

Despite all gains, Bangladesh still has a long way to go. Poverty is pervasive; inequality between different population groups in terms of standard development indicators is unacceptable. Income or employment opportunity is still limited. Also there is a lack of access to education, gender inequality and lack of power to enforce human and other rights (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC).

 

The Women of Bangladesh and Their social Life:

Irrespective of national level of development, women are vulnerable to exploitation, oppression and all other types of explicit violence from men in all the societies where cultural norms, traditional and legal system, sanction women’s subordination to men.

In Bangladesh in the system of patrilineal descent, patrilocal residence and purdah, interact to isolate and subordinate women. Usually, women are socially and economically dependent on mare person of the family. When a daughter grows up, she always safe-guarded by father and he is considered her guardian while she is being married. After marriage, her identity is her husband and any absence of her father or husband’s; she is looked after by her son, brother or other male persons or male relatives of the family. The most senior male member of the family normally becomes the head of the family. Hossain et al (1988) have found in a study that “Even when male do not or cannot perform the socially expected role of family bread winners, many families keep intact the culturally accepted structure or ritual male leadership. That means the male persons have been enjoying a lot of advantage and privileges in the social respect of rural Bangladesh.

Again, after marriage, the sooner she proved her capacity of becoming mother by giving birth to a baby; the better is her consolidation in the family. Because son preference dominates socio-cultural life in Bangladesh, a mother can cement her position in the family by giving birth to a son.

Chen (1986) has quoted in his publications entitled “Women in Transition in Rural Bangladesh” that the patrilineal social system in Bangladesh prescribes that a newly married woman generally need to consolidate her position in the new family through giving girth to one or more male children. In our traditional society women are ignored and considered as a burden to a family.  In most of the cases, people don’t tend to welcome a girl in their family.

Women’s movement from one place to another is sometimes restricted. The social institution, known as “Shomaj” control the people of that place in various ways. Shomaj leaders don’t allow her to move freely in the society. Mobility and visibility of women are controlled by Shomaj and purdah in the prescribed direction. Hence, women’s ability to become independent, looking for jobs, outside her home, initiative to gather knowledge about new ideas are very much controlled by her very limited scope of mobility in the society.

Most of the women in Bangladesh are illiterate. The illiteracy of women is much more than that of men. Maximum women are landless. Generally, the land own by a household is mainly owned by men and always women are deprived of their rights. As land provides social status and political power as well as economic security, women’s landlessness reduces women’s power in the household. Hence, illiteracy, low life expectancy, low rate of labor force participation, no ownership of land, higher rate of unemployment, high fertility, mortality and morbidity from a circle, adversely affecting women in Bangladesh. So, in spite of her being pioneer in women’s emancipation and education, women in Bangladesh are politically exploited, socially apprised, legally ignored and technologically deprived. In other words, women are neglected in almost all the spheres of their life.

 

Economic Activities of Rural Women in Bangladesh:

In Bangladesh, women represent half of the country’s human resources and thus half of its potential. Among these 50 percent of human resources, 90% of them are living in rural areas. So, it is sure that, there cannot be any rural development program without the integration of rural women into the development process. Thus, women play an indispensable and very important role in socioeconomic development and improving the quality of life of poor household.

But much of her contribution remains unseen, unrecognized and unaccounted. Because women workout of the sight of most men. The men in the family don’t like to report that they can’t afford to provide leisure and luxury to their women. Especially if the women are doing jobs which lower their family status. As a result, rural women’s economic contribution is not calculated.

Like some other traditional societies, many women in Bangladesh don’t work outside their home or its immediate vicinity. It is thought that women are doing only the household jobs; they are not always fit for work in office or some other places. They are engaged in heavy physical labor.

Women play a crucial role in agriculture and food production. But rural women don’t go to field where the rice is produced but she has to play a good job for post harvest operations paddy processing activities which involves husking, winnowing, soaking, parboiling, drying, storing, husking, storing seeds, seed preservation etc. The women also prepare food for the family, also have to take care of family members, child rising, cattle rising, preparing food for cattle. She has to do other different domestic jobs as bringing water, cleans cow shed, spread fresh cow dung in sun for preparing it as a source of fire for cooking.

But, all of these works are totally unpaid contribution for the wellbeing of the family. In rural areas, very small number of families is engaged in cottage industry or family enterprises such as weaving, pottery and the women of those families have some fixed responsibilities in the production cycle. From this job, women are earning some money. Some times, some women make hanging nets for storage, brooms, hand fans baskets, fish traps, mats for drying and many things from stalks and leaves of plants. Very small amount of investment is  needed for the raw materials, some women raise cock, hen, duck etc and after some days, by selling them and also eggs, women’s earn some money and thus engage in economic activities.

But the effectiveness, viability, sustainability of development interventions are unlikely to be ensured if due attention is not given to the role, concerns and needs of women. While the constitution of Bangladesh ensures equal rights to women in all spheres, but in practice, legislations supporting these rights have not been effective. Women are deprived of economic, social, political and education rights. In a word, they are deprived of all human basic rights.

 

Current Poverty and Women in Bangladesh:

Bangladesh is one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the developing world. Occupying 150th position in UNDP’s Human Development Index (UNDP, 1999).At least 70 million people live in absolute poverty and among these 35-50 million constitute the ultra poor consuming (taking less than 1805 Kcal per capita per day BIDS,1992)

Most of the rural poor have no land. Especially the women and they rely heavily on wage empowerment of their livelihood. Women need money not only to contribute to family as a whole but also save for emergencies and for times when they and their families are in distress. Thus, when a woman is urgently concerned with her family’s economic and social security, she may not be interested in acquiring modern knowledge in nutrition of health practices. But once a certain amount of economic security has been achieved, rural women will be interested on other social changes desired for comprehensive development of the society. If the women have given sufficient and appropriate training and then women can plan implement and also motor development program.

Hence, by taking proper and effective education (both formal and informal) and also by proper training, rural women can take part in development activities and also gain money and thus may empower themselves also.

 

Health Condition of Women and Their Health Awareness Knowledge

Bangladesh is a growing example of how development organizations can contribute considerably and constructively to the growth of the country. But in Bangladesh women have been held back by their low status in family and community. In patriarchal society such as that found in Bangladesh, women’s health status is compromised by their low socio-economic status. Poor women suffer from diseases related to poverty and malnutrition (the men of the family feed first) and ignorance of proper hygiene about use of water, latrine.

Their children are also suffering from diarrhea and many diseases due to lack of knowledge about immunization. Women must work long and hard in conditions which adversely affect their health (such as cooking in smoke filled rooms).The only health needs of women which are recognized are those related to reproduction. They sometimes get different health facilities during pregnancy. It will not be possible to improve the health status of women until structural changes take place in societies and discrimination is eliminated.

 

Statement of the Research Problem:

Since the late 1970s, women of rural Bangladesh have experienced different programs aimed at empowering them. There is no doubt that credit programs to rural women have been successful in increasing women’s income levels and control over income to certain extent in many of world’s poorest regions. A research by Mayoux (1998) shows that they have improved perception of women’s contribution to household income and family welfare,  resulting in overall improvements in attitude towards women in the household community.

Empowerment of women is high on the agenda in the development plans and policies. Different micro credit programs have proved to have the potential to facilitate the process of empowerment among women. Empowerment as conceptualized by Moser (1993) Kabeer (1994) and Batliawala (1997) can broadly be categorized as coming from individual end of the continuum, located within the notations of “Power-within”. Empowerment can be achieved within existing social order without any significant negative effects upon the power of the powerful.  Once empowered, they can share in fruits of development, become agents of their own development and in the process achieve self reliance (Craing and Mayo, 1995).

Since, women are generally accepted as being the most disempowered members of the oppressed classes, the term “Women’s empowerment” has came to be associated with women’s struggle for social justice and equality. The process of challenging existing power relations and of gaining greater control over the sources of power may be termed as empowerment. As the outcome of empowerment of women’s is redistribution of power between genders, it belies the hope of many people that women’s empowerment should not disempowered men.

Among the poor in rural Bangladesh, system of patrilineal descent, patriarchal residence and purdah, interact to isolate and subordinate women. Women’s access to position of influence and power is limited. Their occupational choices are narrower and their earnings lower than those of men and they must struggle to reconcile activities outside the home with their traditional role. Illiteracy low life expectancy, low rate of labor force participation no ownership of land, higher rate of unemployment, high fertility, mortality and morbidity, form a vicious circle which adversely affection women in Bangladesh. But, the need for empowerment of women in Bangladesh arises from this harsh social scenario.

Credit programs have played the role of catalysts in the empowerment process of poor women. Credit programs take the responsibilities of development of the poor. The mechanisms and communications strategy used by different micro credit programs is very critical in creating a continuous link between organization and grassroots women. Such a continuous link allows the micro credit programs to work closely with women at the grassroots level and attempt at bringing about meaningful changes in their lives. Micro credit programs empowered women by strengthening their economic roles, increasing their ability to contribute to their families support and also other mechanisms.

Women herself has neither enough time for herself nor sufficient food to eat as she has work to from dawn to dusk. She generally depends on the leftovers after every one in the family has finished his/her meal. There is hardly any nutrition in the food. Thus, she is a perpetual victim of malnutrition and ill health. There is none to look after her when she is sick but she has to nurse all the members during their illness. Sometimes they experience some health care facilities during their pregnancy period. They take prenatal care from different sources, assisted by somebody during delivery, receives TT injections etc. Due to lack of knowledge about health issues, they are not concerned about child immunization, source of drinking water, use of sanitary latrine etc.

Thus as a whole, this research, is an assessment of women empowerment by exploring the points that show how rural women’s are empowered by taking credit and in what ways their economic, social status and also their awareness about different health issues have improved.

 

Rationale of the Study:

Poverty has a stronger impact on women, and vice versa, empowering women results in greater and faster progress in poverty reduction. The greater proportion of women suffering from various forms of poverty is linked to their unequal access to education to productive resources and to control of assets and in some cases, to unequal rights in family and also in society. Their health condition is not so fine and due to lack of knowledge about health and immunization, they bear many diseases during pregnancy and their children do not bear good health.

Various Government and non government organizations (NGO’s) started to recognize the causes and the effect of rural poverty and have started taking up modest operations through various development organizations to create employment, especially for rural poor women aiming to uplift their economic and social condition. Some credit and saving organizations provide educational and training along with confidence and capacity building to target group. Some others provide health, sanitation facilities. But sometimes, credit itself is not the answer of empowerment. For some women and their families, micro credit programs have negative impacts. One study in Bangladesh found that among female borrowers, majority reported an increase in verbal and physical aggression from male relatives after taking loan. (Pepall, 1998 in UNIFEM Biennial Report, 2000)

But, there has not been much study on whether the positive or negative impact of credit for empowerment of rural women. The current study is an independent research that examines the impact and effectiveness of micro credit programs in empowering the rural women. It also analyzes their current socio-economic situation, their awareness about health, child immunization.

Thus, it could be an interesting research issue to explore the various aspects of credit to see how they do and how they could effect empowerment. Also this study is expected to add a new dimension to improve the health condition and also increase the awareness about health. Such an analysis could allow policy makers to design appropriate interventions for empowerment and to increase their health awareness knowledge of rural women in Bangladesh.

Objective of the study:

The general objective of the current study is to examine the relationship between participation of rural women in microcredit program with empowerment and analyzes their health awareness knowledge. The specific objectives are:

  1. To study the socio-economic status of rural women in Bangladesh.
  2. To identify who has / have the control over income through credit money.
  3. To analyze different indicators of women empowerment.
  4. To analyze the condition of health awareness knowledge of women.

Research Questions:

  1. What is the socio-economic condition of rural women?
  2. What are the different indicators of women empowerment?
  3. How different factors influence the indicators of women empowerment?
  4. Is there any relationship between women’s use of loan and their empowerment?
  5. What is the knowledge about different health awareness issues of rural women?

 

Review of Literature

Introduction:

Empowerment of women is the cornerstone of the recent study and as the aim of this research is to observe , evaluate and explore the changes  in the life styles of 1715 rural women of Matlab  due to microcredit program , changes that are believed to be signposts in their path towards empowerment .  We should discuss first the theoretical issues of empowerment .This chapter focuses and deals with the views and opinions of different researchers, academicians which devote their attention to empowerment and different features their health awareness knowledge.

Empowerment

The notation of women’s empowerment has been defined by various scholars in different ways. It is a concept that can be defined contextually. Molyneux and Moser (1985, 1989) think that the focus on women’s empowerment points out a distinction between practical and strategic gender interests. Women’s condition -the material situation of her life means that she has practical needs, resulting from her gendered position in the society. The gender position again means she also has strategic needs – needs that challenge the gender hierarchies and other mechanisms subordination.

In the context of Bangladesh the collateral free GB microcredit can be considered a strong weapon of economic independence for the rural women as it fulfils women’s strategic as well as practical needs.

In a simple sense empowerment can be described as a kind of change. The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has defined empowerment as “increased opportunity for women and men to control their lives. It gives power to make decisions  , power to have your  voice heard , power to put things on the agenda , power to negotiate on something that is not negotiable , power within your self to challenge past custom” (NORAD,2000:1-2). In a nutshell, women’s empowerment can be defined as women’s control over material and intellectual resources through which they can emancipate from all sorts of subordinate positions.

Micro Credit Programs:

Microcredit defined as credit for the poor people without collateral, is now firmly established as a mainstream development intervention. Fuelled by the World Bank sponsored microcredit summits, the credibility of microcredit has grown to the point where it is being hailed as the ultimate answer to poverty and underdevelopment. To its proponents, microcredit has every thing participation, flexibility, community ownership and best of all, women’s empowerment.

The main myths   about poor peoples saving however have focused less on its use than its existence. The assumption has been that poor people because they are poor, do not save, so few programs have promoted deposit facilities. But there is evidence that the poor people do not save in informal financial markets and in other liquid and non liquid assets such as household tools, jewelry and draft power which can be sold in times of crisis (drought or flood) and then repurchased ( Bell, 1989) .

Another myth impact in the few loans given to women in developing countries is that women are poor credit risks. But evidence from credit programs with heavy female participation has found this is not true. In their study of women’s credit in Bangladesh, Hossain and Afsar, (1989) found that focus on women have higher repayment rates than traditional credit schemes that excluded women. At the Grameen Bank –which in 1989 boasted a 98% repayment rate and 84 % female membership .Managers argued that they purposely target women borrowers because they are more disciplined and more careful with capital (Hossain and Afsar).

Poor households are typically excluded from the formal banking system for lacking of collateral but the microcredit movement exploits new contractual structure and organizational forms that reduce the risk and costs of making small, uncollateralized loans (Jonathan Morduch, 2000).

Microcredit has demonstrated its effectiveness in delivering immediate benefits and long term structural help to the poorest of the people of the world. Not only dos it delivers such material assistance but it also teaches the poor how to help themselves in the long run.

Since the 1990’s alleviating poverty has been top priority in international development, within this framework various initiatives have already been taken. One particular strategy in tackling poverty has generated tremendous microcredit programs .Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, is the cradle of this ‘microcredit movement’.

Grameen Bank enjoys international fame and its model has been replicated in countries all over the world. Likewise the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) is showing successes one of the largest NGO’s in the world. Both have generated an international wave of interest and been the main sources of inspiration for microcredit movement which was launched in 1997 as a ‘global movement to reach 100 million of the worlds poorest families , especially the women of those families with credit for self employment and other financial services by the year 2005(MSC, 1997).

Of the numerous microcredit programs in Bangladesh Grameen Bank and BRAC are undoubtedly the best known and the biggest. In Bangladesh 16 million people are clients of a microcredit institution. More than 2.3 million are involved in GB and 2.7 million in the program of BRAC (CDF, 1999).

Grameen Bank (GB):

The Grameen Bank was founded as an action research project by Mohammad Younus; a Bangladeshi Economist in Chittagong in 1976 .The objective of the project was to test whether the poor are creditworthy and if credit can be supplied without any collateral. The Grameen Bank formally began functioning as a specialized bank in 1983, providing finance for nonagricultural self employment activities.  Common loan uses include rice processing; livestock rising and traditional crafts (Morduch, 1999).

Grameen Bank started from a rather ‘minimalist ‘ philosophy .Its founder Professor Mohammad Yunus, believed that the situation of the poor could be improved purely through the provision of microcredit. Nevertheless, through out the years Grameen Bank has added some training and education to its program.

The borrowers of Grameen Bank need to abide by a set of rules .There are ‘Sixteen Decisions’ of Grameen Bank. They have to memorize by the GB members in order to help them in their daily activities and are referred to every time members have their meeting.

The sixteen decisions are the following:

  1. We shall follow and advance the four principles of Grameen bank – Discipline, Unity, Courage and Hard work – in all walks of our lives.
  2. Prosperity we shall bring to our family.
  3. We shall not live dilapidated houses. We shall repair our houses and work towards constructing new houses at the earliest.
  4. We shall grow vegetables all the year round. We shall eat plenty of them and sell the surplus.
  5. During the plantation seasons, we shall plant as many seeding as possible.
  6. We shall plan to keep our families small. We shall minimize expenditures. We shall look after our health.
  7. We shall educate our children and ensure that we can to pay their education.
  8. We shall always keep our children and the environment clean.
  9. We shall always build and use pit latrines .We shall drink water from tube wells .If it is not available, we shall boil water or use alum.
  10. We shall not take any dowry at our sons wedding; neither shall we give any dowry at our daughters wedding. We shall keep the centre free from the curse of dowry. We shall not practice any child marriage.
  11. We shall not inflict any injustice on anyone; neither shall we allow anyone to do so.
  12. We shall collectively undertake bigger investments for higher incomes.
  13. We shall always be ready to help each other. If any one is in difficulty, we shall all help him or her.
  14. If we come to know of any breach of discipline in any center, we shall all go there and help restore discipline.
  15. We shall introduce physical exercise in all our centers.
  16. We shall take part in all social activities collectively.

Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC):

BRAC, a development organization founded by Fazle Hasan Abed in February 1972, soon after the liberation of Bangladesh, has acted as both the initiator catalyst for many such innovation and change. BRAC‘s initial focus was on the resetting of refugees returning from India. In 1973, it shifted its focus to long term community development.

BRAC firmly believes that and is actively involved in promoting human rights, dignity and gender equity through poor peoples socio-economic, political and human capacity building. BRAC tries to bring about changes at the national and global level policies on poverty reduction and social progress.

From assisting the War-affected poor people in the quest for reconstruction of Afghanistan, BRAC has further expanded its development activities in Srilanka, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, the UK, and the USA.

Over the course of its evolution BRAC has established itself as a pioneer in recognizing and taking the different dimensions of poverty. BRACs’ unique, holistic approach to poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor encompasses a range of core programs in health, education as well as economic and social develop

Role of Micro Credit for Women’s Empowerment:

Our Government is taking to improve the rural life by undertaking various schemes of rural uplifts and also several non-government organizations (NGO) also started development programs for poor people especially for women.

Micro Credit plays an important role in promotion income generating activities among rural poor. Some NGO’s started to provide credit in form of seed money, which helps the women to start some income generating activities. These activities help these women to earn some income, part of which, they consume and remainder, they invest for strengthening their   activities for future economic well being. By taking part in these, process, rural women may empower.

The credit program interventions are increasingly promoted as a mechanism for women empowerment. However, it is essential to analyze the nature of empowerment promoted by micro credit programs and in that ways women’s access to credit affect gender relation.

Empowerment as a strongly articulated goal of development interventions has become very attractive in recent years, in poor countries of the world. There has been a steady influx of literature on employment ever since the concept gained popularity in mid nineteen-eighties.

In Bangladesh perspective, empowerment is the concept of change. The development activities of NGOs in Bangladesh lead empowerment in its social as well as economic dimensions. NGO’s have made their micro credit program accessible to women because they are more poor and vulnerable than men.

Many development agencies now realize that the key to long term poverty alleviation in developing cultural constructed discrimination along with structural economic constraints add up to women’s vulnerability which makes it difficult for micro credit to be effective in addressing women’s empowerment. There are some other issues, which need to take into account that deal with women’s position as well as their condition, that micro credit can’t handle singly.

The critics of NGO activities argue that because of the patriarchal social structure of rural Bangladesh micro credit doesn’t necessarily lead to women’s empowerment. It may even worsen their situation (Goets and Sen Gupta, 1996:91, Greenhalagels, 1991:31). Womens lack of education, institutional and cultural constructed discrimination along with structural economic constraints add up to women’s vulnerability which makes it difficult for micro credit to be effective in addressing women’s empowerment. There are some other issues, which need to take into account that deal with women’s position as well as their condition, that micro credit can’t handle singly.

But, however, with such limitations, micro credit still has the potential to reinforce women’s reliance as a each contributor to the house hold. Likewise, Goetz and Sen Gupta debate “Credit represents a form of economic empowerment which can enhance women’s self confidence and status within the family, as independent producers and providers of a valuable each resource to house hold economy (1996:46)”.

 

Historical Background of Women’s Empowerment:

Though Paulo Freire in his book pedagogy of the Oppressed has discussed empowerment in a formal way for the first time in 1970s. Historically Mary Wollstonecraft can be considered as one of the prominent proponents of women’s empowerment because of her lifelong activities and publications of the book titled A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1772. From every vantage point of the history of civilization, patriarchy appears to facilitate the creation of an era of men’s autocratic regime. This history has also established a subordinate status and backward position for women, a position that may remain backward even through the transition from a traditional to a modern society. In today’s world, the notation of empowerment is thus one of the widely discussed terms in the discourses concerning women’s relation to development. During the last two decades and a half, women’s empowerment issue has therefore been considered as one of the crucial areas of concern and is discussed widely in all the significant international conferences, e.g., the Earth summit (1992) , Human Rights Conference (1993), Population Summit (1994), World Women’s Conference (1995,1999,2002) .Its importance lies not only in the uplift of women’s status but also in its close relation to the   development of society in general and the women in particular.

 

Women in Development (WID):

When women in developing countries to assert their rights by projecting their identity from the typical traditional sphere to establish their rights against oppression, a new trend of thought was established polarity known as Women in Development (WID).

Empowerment is one of the five approaches of this WID discourse. The other WID approaches are known as welfare approach, equity approach, anti- poverty approach and efficiency approach. According to Caroline Moser (Nalini, 1997:20), WID approaches have been   followed in different parts of the world at different times. Prevalent in the 1950s and 1960s in developing countries, the welfare approach emphasized on women’s reproductive roles and tried to alleviate poverty by population control. The equity approach was developed in the Women’s Decade of the United Nations (1976-85) with the objective of achieving equality in development activities and equal rights. The anti-poverty approach, devised in the 1970s, focused on women productive role eradicating their poverty as they are considered the ‘poorest of the poor ‘.

The efficiency approach was developed from the International Monetary Fund /World Banks structural adjustment policy during the 1980s. Meeting women’s strategic needs through economic efficiency and bringing them in the mainstream of development were the primary goals of this approach. The empowerment approach of the WID discourse is the most recent one developed after 1975. Its goal is to create self consciousness, self dependency and self confidence of women so that they can control their own lives. Though the overall focus of WID was to involve women in income generating activities, it did not challenge patriarchy as the main cause of women’s subordination and “considered women as a problem in so far as they tended to be standing outside development process ….” (Soleim, 2002). It should be mentioned that in spite of some limitations, the merit of WID approach lies in the fact that it has brought the issue of women to the forefront.

 

Women and Development (WAD):

During the mid-seventies, the Women and Development (WAD) approach emerged as a result of criticisms against the WID approach as well as modernization theory. WAD approach is based on dependency theory and maintains that there exists a discrepant international structure. The third world economy serves the economic interests of the first world.

In order to come out of this dependency, this approach emphasizes on the involvement of the poor people of the third world in the production processes. WAD perspective considers that women had always been parts of production process, so there is no need to involve them with development anew.  They are rather connected with the exploitation process that helps maintain the discrepant international structure. Men are also exploited in this process. The downgraded status of both men and women are seen in the backdrop of discrepant international structure developed on the foundation of class and capital. WAD reiterates that women’s problem should not be considered separately. It emphasizes on the economic activities of women and speaks for planned involvement strategies as a solution to the limited representation of women in the economic, political and social structure. It is assumed that if the international structure becomes more equitable women’s position will be improved.

But there is rigidly in WAD principles as it never questions gender roles and maintains tat at the social and personal levels, women’s function is to maintain the social structure. As a strong class consciousness form the basis of WAD approach, it considers all women as a homogeneous group irrespective of class, caste, race, religion and nationality. WAD perspective fails to analyses deeply the relation between patriarchy and women’s downgraded status in different societies and the existing gender relations in different classes of society are also neglected.

 

 

Gender and Development (GAD):

The Gender and Development (GAD) perspective was evolved in the 1980s in the context of the limitations of WID and WAD approach. Socialist feminism is the basis of the GAD trend. It pays attention to almost all the aspects of women’s life and emphasizes on all kinds of activities assigned to them by the society. According to Kate Yound (1992), GAD focuses not just on women (as with WID and WAD), but also on the social relations between men and women in the workplace as well as in other settings ( Visvananthan, 1997: 23). BAD maintains that in order to achieve women’s development, it is necessary to create conditions so that men and women may liberate themselves from poverty.

As women usually face resistance from the private sphere (family and kin relation) at the time of their attempt to liberate themselves, this approach pays attention to local level organizations that help women to organize themselves. GAD wants to convert the welfare and poverty alleviation approaches into means of attaining equity. The final goal of GAD is women’s empowerment where women should be elevated to such a level from were they can fight for their own rights and preferences. “GAD suggested an analysis of the gendered power relations which offered the context where new technologies were introduced, and thus aimed at revealing the impact of development on women’s possibilities to control their own lives”. GAD principles speak for such a society where every one is considered equal irrespective of class, caste, sex and where division of labor is not made on the basis of sex but on the basis of ability. GAD grasps the feminization of poverty very well and declares to achieve sustainable alleviation of poverty within a specified time frame by empowering women.

 

Contemporary Views of Empowerment

The focus of this section is to highlight the views and opinions of different academicians, researchers and institutions that made significant contributions towards the understanding of the concept empowerment. Like Henrietta Moore, Prof. Kjell R. Soleim considers empowerment within the framework of a discourse analysis where empowerment means changing of a woman’s status from an object position to a subject position. According to him, “Several feminist authors emphasize that empowerment is achieved in a process where women develop a political and economical capacity to defend themselves and oppose oppression individually or collectively… this capacity depends on women’s access to knowledge abut their position in circuits of discourse where their role in the family, in the village etc is taken for granted or natural, for instances, as destined to perform certain chores, as destined to be married off without being asked etc”.

Indeed, development for women, which is an integral part of social development, is meaningless without women’s empowerment. There are clearly four important dimensions of empowerment on which different academicians and researchers put emphasis. They are the individual/personal dimension, the economic dimension, the collective/social group dimension and the political dimension. They can broadly be organized along a continuum, with personal and political empowerment forming the two ends.

 

Researchers View on Empowerment:

Bhatt (1989) emphasizes on the strategies of “Struggle and development” as the key to the empowerment process. According to her “struggle” involves fighting for ones rights and interests through trade union. “Development” is defined as building alternative economic structures as co-operatives. Principal eliminates of strategy are organizing (brining people together, thinking through common problems, to agree on common issues, to decide on common action and to forge common ideologies) and waging wars against injustices(taking direct action, filling complaints, influencing policies ).

Edna and Bose (1990) studied empowerment from the angle of “gender decolonization” that calls for “profound reformulations and restructuring of the power relations between women and men at the domestic and social levels, free of all hierarchies”.

Price (1992) maintains that the goals of empowerment extend beyond the individuals growth and development and raise the “consciousness for political power “and encourage women to take part in political activities that consequently influence the macro-level systems and structures. These are the crucial goals of empowerment process.

Friedmann’s (1992:32-34) theory of “alternative development” is derived from the concept of empowerment that arises from indigenous political and social cultures of society. According to him, there are three kind of power, i.e., social, political and psychological. Social power consists in possessing knowledge, information and skills. All these consequently help to improve the household productions and are favorable to create political power. Political power is a mechanism that influences policy changes both at the macro and micro level. It’s the result of the power of voice and collective action. Finally, psychological power is expressed as an individual sense of potency demonstrated in self-confident behavior, self-reliance and increased self -esteem.

Schuler and Hashemi (1993) hypothesized that “the process of empowerment should weaken the systematic basis of women’s subordination”. They identify six hierarchy of domains in which women have traditionally been subordinated such as sense of self and vision of a future, mobility and visibility, economic security, status of decision-making power within the household, ability to interact effectively in the public sphere, and participating in non-family groups.

The notation of empowerment, propounded by Caroline Moser (1993), focused on the individual-with over recourses seen as the central means for redistribution of power. She considered empowerment as “an ability to enhance women’s self-confidence and internal strength“. It encompasses the right to make choices and gain control over material and non-material resources as well as influencing the direction of changes. She further maintained psychological empowerment which consists of the notation of self-esteem and self -confidence is as important as economic empowerment and helps women to bring in tangible changes in their surroundings.

According to Young (1993:159), empowerment enables women “to take control of their own lives, set their own agenda, organize to help each other and make demands   on the state for support and on the society itself for change”. Empowerment is a complete change of the processes and structures responsible for women’s inferior status in the society. It is based on a “transformatory potential” related to the “need to transform women’s position in such a way that the advancement will be sustained ….each step taken in the direction of gaining greater control over their lives, will focus on other needs, other contradictions to be resolved in tern”.

Batliwala (1994) defined empowerment as “the process of challenging existing power relations and of gaining greater control, over the sources of power”. According to her women’s empowerment is seen as the process and the results of the process of (a) challenging the ideology of male domination and women’s subordination; (b) enabling women to gain equal access to and control over resources (material, human , intellectual )and (c) transforming the institutions (family, education, religion , media and so on) and structures (legal , political, economic and social ) through which the ideology and practice of subordination is reinforced and reproduced.

By empowerment, Naila Kabeer(1994:224-9) implies a “process  by those who have defined the ability to make strategic life choices acquire such an ability …. a feminist approach to power emphasizes the transformative potential of power within enables women to recognize and challenge gender inequality”. In this connection, she further argues that “for women to improve their control over resources, to determine agenda and make decisions, empowerment strategies must be built on the power within (1994:229). Only experience can recognize ‘power from within’ and analyze different issues connected with women’s subordination and how it is maintained. Careful analysis and insightful reflections are necessary preconditions for the creation of new forms of consciousness. This idea is based on Paulo Freire’s conception of ‘critical consciousness’ where the process of empowerment is bound up with educational process.

According to Rowlands (1995:102), empowerment means ‘to relate to the user’s power’. It involves undoing negative social constructions. So that people affected can perceive them as having the capacity and the right to act and have influence. Rao and Kellenher (1995:70) define women’s empowerment as “The capacity of women to be economically self sufficient and self reliant with control over decisions affecting their life options and freedom from violence”.

Carr et al. (1996) in their research on women’s economic empowerment in South Asia came up with a definition of empowerment in which the focus was on ” Economic change /material gain plus increased bargaining power and/or structural change which enables women to secure economic gains on-going and sustained basis” .

Rao (1996) in her study of ‘women in the informal sector’ has described the “process of empowerment involving just an improvement in physical and social conditions, but also equal participation in decision making process, control resources and mechanisms for sustaining these gains”.  In other words both the practical and strategic needs of women need to be addressed in the process of empowerment.

Again, Jo Rowlands (1997:17) thought that empowerment is “a process whereby women become able to organize themselves to increase their own self-reliance, to assert their independent right to make choices and to control resources which will assist in challenging and eliminating their own subordination”. The core of empowerment is power, which may take four forms, i.e.,’ power  over’,’ power to’,’ power with’ and ‘ power within’. To her empowerment is a dynamic process and its aim is to discover more spaces for control. It also encompasses changes at the three levels: personal, relational and collective.

According to Betteille (1999), much of the literature on empowerment is context driven and is about social transformation, oppressed-oppressor relationship, re-distribution of power and social change. The critical question according to him is linked with the nature of social transformation and its measurability. Empowerment could be invoked in the context of human rights, basic needs, economic security, capacity building, skill formation, conditions of dignified social existence. Implicit on the idea of empowerment is a certain theory of social change from hierarchical to an egalitarian and democratic type of society.

Smita Mishra Panda (2000) in her study ‘Women’s empowerment through NGO interventions: A frame work for assessment’ has described the indicators  to assess empowerment .They are power ,autonomy and self-reliance, entitlement , participation and process of building awareness and capacity have been adopted in view of its operation ability and ability  to capture the level and process of women’s empowerment .

 

Researchers View on Health Awareness Knowledge:

Gibbons (1995:47-48) thought that it is important to involve female in development projects. More than a man, a woman is confronted with poverty; because she has to stay at home, feed the children and eat less if there is a lack of food.

It has also experienced by Steele , Amin and Naved (1998) that empowerment of women brings significant improvement in health and nutrition, women’s participation in household decision making , family planning , children’s survival rate   , education, specially girls education.

According to Tapaswini Dash (2002), credit linked to access to basic services and social development message and as a result, the children of borrowers are healthier, and almost 100 percent of the children are immunized. Families have improved their nutrition status, they follow sanitary latrine, and they are awarded about their health needs, seeking medical attention for sickness.

Islam and M.S.Hossain (1997) sates in their study “Reproductive Health Status in Bangladesh” almost 88 percent mother reported that they have the knowledge about TT injection but only 68 percent of mother actually took TT during last pregnancy. They also found that only 14.6 percent mothers have taken the help of doctors and nurses at the time of their deliveries. Trained birth assistant (TBA) had assisted in 22.2percent of deliveries. Also, they provided the information’s that 75 percent mothers feeding the first milk i.e., colostrums to their new born baby.

Another study ‘Social Situation And Health Status Of Women In Bangladesh :A Preliminary Analysis’ studied by M.M.Khan, M.S.Hossain,M.H.Rahman and A.Mamun expressed that tetanus, which used to be an important cause of death among infants and mothers, has declined significantly due to the success of the immunization program. The immunization coverage of tetanus toxoid (TT) in Bangladesh is now about 60 percent. Maternal deaths can be reduced by about 10 percent only through a better coverage of TT. In 1995,maternal deaths due to tetanus was about 0.32 per 1000 live births and these deaths can be avoided if the TT coverage rate increases to about 90-95 percent level.

A.Razzaque, M.S.Hossain, A.K.M.A.Haque and Md.A.Ali(1995) describe in their study ‘Health Behavior , Perceptions, practices and Decision Making :Sub-National And Socio-Demographic Differentials ‘that  almost over 90 percent household were using tube-well / tap /well water for drinking purpose but for washing pots/plates needs such water use was about 60 percent .  Defecation in unhygienic condition is common in their study. They found about 59 percent used sanitary latrine, however, 41 percent either hanging latrine or not fixed or bush as a place for defecation. Also they found among the diarrhea suffered people; about 65 percent took oral saline while the rest took either allopathic or other type of medicine.

According to F.Sultana (1998) tetanus coverage is relatively widespread in Bangladesh. It is a promising fact that 76 percent adolescent mother had received tetanus injection during pregnancy .She also informed that about two third of mothers (60.7 percent)are assisted by traditional birth attendants(TBAs) , 30 percent by relatives or others and only 9 percent by health professionals (doctors , nurses, family welfare visitors  during their last pregnancy. Proper medical attention during pregnancy and hygienic condition during delivery can reduce the risk of complications and infections that can cause death or serious illness for either the mother or the newborn). She also found that about half of the adolescent mother has initiated breast milk to their last child within 24 hours.

From the study “Childhood Diarrhea and Acute Respiratory Tract Infections (ARI) In Bangladesh”(1999) the author found s that source of water and toilet facility plays an important role in child diarrhea.  People using safe water for drinking and washing has low risk of diarrhea .From this study it has been also found that children using tube well and piped water have higher risk of diarrhea because pipe water is not always pure and safe .also, children using safe water for washing have low risk of diarrhea .Prevalence of diarrhea is lowest (6.2 %) among the children using modern toilet facility.

Lambrechts et al. (1997) observed three treatments  as ORS , antibiotics and local herbs were commonly used for treating  diarrhea .Among the diarrhea effected children 14.3 % of drug treated with injection, 17.6 % received ORS with other drugs, 36.5% received other drugs but no ORS and only 5 % were given ORS alone.

The present study has investigated women’s empowerment through micro credit program and health awareness knowledge of women.

 

 

 

Data and Methodology

Introduction:

This chapter provides a brief description of the sources of data, sample design, data processing and background characteristics and all other issues relevant to the study.

A Brief Description of Data, Used in the Present Study:

The study is analyzed, using the data, collected from “Socio Economic Census, SEC”     at 1996 and from the continuous registration of demographic events 1996 by “Demographic Surveillance System, DSS” Matlab of “International CentreFor Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B)”

To describe the data, first we discuss the historical background   “Socio Economic Census, SEC” data, continuous registration of demographic events data and data collection procedure.

Historical Background:

In the year 1963, the ICDDR’B has been continuing a field based research station at Matlab ,Chadpur. Matlab is located about 55 kilometers southeast from Dhaka. The Matlab area was initially selected to test cholera vaccine. The DSS in Matlab has been maintaining since 1966.The surveillance system consists of two types of operations:

  1. Continuing registration of birth, death, migration marital union and dissolution, inter-village movement household split and household change.
  2. Periodical census and socio economic surveys.

Seven censuses have been undertaken in the DSS area since the introduction of surveillance. The censuses of 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1993 did not include socioeconomic data but the census 1974, 1982 and 1996 did. The first three censuses covered part of the population while the rest covered the entire population of surveillance area.

At the onset, 132 villages brought under the surveillance system and in 1968, 101 villages were added. In 1974 census, the total population was 276,984 in 233 villages in the surveillance area. But a major modification in the field structure and program activities was made in October, 1978. 84 villages (1, 20,000 population) were excluded and 149 villages (173,443 population) were retained .The Family Planning and Health Services Programs was then launched in 70 villages (84,518 population) were comparison area. The 1982 census covered the population of 149 villages but in 1993, it reduced to 142, due to river erosion.

On the other hand, information of continuous registration of demographic events is gathered by community health workers and health assistants, who visit each household in their assigned areas regularly and fill out the registration form.

Data, Used in the Current Study:

Considering the importance of socio economic data in both theoretical and practical perspectives and by identifying the main factors for the disadvantages status of women, the information about socio economic condition as well as women’s status are collected in 1996 census .Information about  birth ,  child immunization and diarrhea are gathered from continuous registration of 1996.

The data, used in the current study is cross sectional data. Cross sectional   data gives the information’s on many areas for single time point. According to Business dictionary cross sectional data is widely spread data relating to one period, without respect to variance due to time.

Data Collection Procedure:

To select the sample under study, stratified cluster sampling technique has been used.

The ICDDR,B area is divided into four blocks ( A,B, C, D) .E ach block is considered as a strata .Within each  block , each village is considered as cluster . 3 villages are selected purposively from each block. Thus, 12 villages are selected.

Block A: V60, V61, V62

Block B: V82, V83, V85

Block C: V27, V28, V30

Block D: V15, V16, V17

The total population of these 12 villages is 11,000 and females are 5391. Among the females, 2032 are married and 1715 women are wife of head of the household head. If the head of household is absent in that situation the eldest daughter in law has been considered. These 1715 women have been selected totally to serve the purpose of the research.

Data Analysis:

The vital objectives of this study are to prove the brief description of women’s empowerment status and health awareness knowledge of women  in Bangladesh. The study considers bivariate analysis of socioeconomic variable with different indicators of women’s empowerment and social, health related variables with live birth. Also the multivariate analysis has be performed to identify the net effects of different covariates on the dependent variables.

Bivariate Analysis:

In a bivariate analysis the use of percentage is an advantageous first step for studying the relationship between two variables, though these percentages do not allow for quantification or testing relationship. For these purpose it is useful to consider various indexes that measure the extent of hypothesis that there is no association. Chi-square test of independence is performed to test the existence of interrelationship among the categories of two quantitative variables. The test procedure compared the observed frequencies with expected frequencies under the null hypothesis. The corresponding p-value is given as the result. For the P-value smaller that the defined level of significance (usually taken to be 0.05 or 0.10) the null hypothesis of no association is rejected.

 

 

Software and Technical Support:

Computer is certainly one of the most versatile and ingenious developments of the modern life. In this study the entire analysis was done by in personal computer. Data analysis was done by SPSSWIN package program 10 version. Read the data of ICDDR,B has easily done in SPSS. In addition recoding, selection and running frequencies along with the cross tables are performed in the SPSS. Finally fitting the model is completed in SPSS.

Besides SPSS package program other well known package like MS Word, MS Excel were also used for various purposes like report writing and for graphical representation.

 

 

 

Variables of the current study:

Before performing any statistical analysis, the selected dependent and independent variables are described below:

Dependent variables:

 

In this study, empowerment of women is measured by

  1. Mobility
  2. Influence to use contraceptives and
  3. Control over income through credit money.

Theses indicators are considered as dependent variables. And also to analyze health awareness knowledge, the dependent variable in this study is live birth.

Taking permission to go outside: In the current study, mobility is an indicator of empowerment of women. Here, mobility is calculated by the fact that the respondents need to take permissions from their husband or other elder member of the family or not. This variable is coded as: 0 for yes (i.e. women have to take permission from husband or other elder member to go outside) and 1for no (i.e. women do not need to take permission to go outside)

Control over income through credit money: This variable is another important indicator of women empowerment. It gives the information’s on who has / have the control on income, from the activities, funded by BRAC, Grameen Bank, NGO’s or other banks. It is coded as: 0 for no (i.e. women herself and others can control income through credit and no influence of husband) and 1 for yes (husband alone).

Influence on contraceptives use: To measure this indicator, those respondent are interviewed, whose ages are between 15 to 50 years. From this variable, we get the information that in the family, whose influence is strong, in case of use of contraceptives. The variable is coded as: 0 for no (i.e. husband alone and others have the influence, here no influence of women) and 1 for yes (i.e. women herself and both).

Live birth: In this research live birth is studied as a dependent variable and influence of different social and health related variables on it has been studied. Live birth is calculated by live birth and others type of birth and coded as: 0 for other birth (which includes still birth, miscarriage) and 1 for live birth.

Independent variables: To examine the effect of demographic and socio economic variables on Mobility, Control over income through credit money and Influence, to use contraceptives, and live birth, the recent study deals with the following independent variables .

Age: This variable represents the age of respondent’s .All the indicators of women empowerment, are strongly depends on age .In this study, we considered only those women, whose ages are between15 to 50 years. Women’s age is coded as: 0 for age is greater than or equal to 45 years, 1 for 35 to 44 years, 2 for 25 to 34 years and 3 for less or equal to 24 years.

Education: In Bangladesh, illiteracy of women is a major lacking for going forward of the country. . Education has great influence on women empowerment .This variable indicate the educational status of respondents and coded as: 0 for no education, 1 for primary, 2 for SSC and less and finally 3 for higher education.

Loan status: Loan status express respondent’s involvement with NGO credit programs from BRAC, Grameen Bank, NGO’s or other banks. The variable is coded as:0 for no (i.e. women do not take loan from BRAC , Grameen Bank or other NGO) and 1 for yes(i.e. women are taking loan) .

Purdah: Bangladesh is a Muslim country. Women have to maintain purdah for the norm of religion. The variable purdah is coded as: 0 for no (i.e. women do not follow it) and 1 for yes (i.e. women follow it).

Visit Alone: Women have to accommodate by somebody when they go outside of the village. This variable gives the information that women can visit alone to go outside of the village or not and it is coded as: 0 for no (i.e. women cannot visit alone) and 1 for yes (i.e. women can visit alone).

Reasons for Loan: Women are taken loan from different developing organizations to improve their live standard. There are different reasons for taking loan. In this study reason for loans are coded as: 0 for others, 1 for agriculture, 2 for business, 3 for construction and repairing home and 4 for small shop.

 

Health awareness variables:

Most of the rural women are not concerned about their health. Also, they have limited knowledge on different health awareness issues .The various health awareness variables are described below in short.

Sources of water: Using pure water for daily use is very important factor for good health .Drinking unhygienic water is a threat for life especially for the children .This variable represents the different sources of water for daily use such as drinking, cooking, and bathing, washing plates or pots.

Place of defecation: Knowledge about perfect place of defecation is necessary for all .It is an important indicator for health awareness knowledge. In Bangladesh, more than 75% of all illness is ascribed to the lack of adequate sanitation facilities. In this study, this variable gives the information on respondent’s place of defecation.

Diarrhea: In Bangladesh, diarrhea is a major health for children. This variable gives the information’s about the incidence of diarrhea of the children of respondent’s family. Here, different types of diarrhea and different managements for diarrhea have been studied.

Child immunization: Child immunization is strongly related with health awareness knowledge. Immunization  saves children life .In the current study , information’s about  measles vaccination , BCG  vaccination , DPT 1 ,DPT 2 , DPT 3 are available .

Pre natal Care: Prenatal care during pregnancy is very important for the health of mother, infant and also for live birth. In this study, different sources of prenatal care are discussed. The variable is coded as: 0 for no (i.e. women do not take pre natal care during pregnancy) and 1 for yes (i.e. women are taking prenatal care from any sources).

Birth Assistant during delivery: Birth assistant during delivery is necessary for perfect delivery without any complicacy. It is also necessary for safe live of both mother and infant. Different sources of birth assistant are studied in this study. The variable birth assistant is coded as: 0 for no (i.e. women do not assist by any assistant during delivery) and 1 for yes (which means women are assisted from any sources).

Tetanus Injection (TT): It is very important to complete the cycle of tetanus injection before the delivery of baby. Tetanus injections are given or not given to the pregnant respondent has been examined here. This variable is coded as: 0 for no (i.e. women do not receive TT injection) and 1 for yes (i.e. women receive 1 or more TT injections during pregnancy).

Colostrums: Colostrums, the first milk produced the three days after birth is high in vitamin A contents as well as in anti bodies which strengthen the infant’s immune system. It also saves the life of new born baby. Colostrums are given or not given to the newly born baby has been studied here.

 

 

Women’s Empowerment:  Mobility

Introduction:

Women’s empowerment is the precondition for any development. It is such a process, through which, women will become aware about their own position in the society. Their social respect will alert about the existing social, political and economical discrimination. Women will try to obtain their own power by removing discrimination and gain male-female equality. That is, women’s empowerment is appropriate way to relate women in any development process.

Empowerment is an abstract and complex concept and it is interpreted in many ways. According to the Random House Dictionary, empowerment comes from the term empower, which means “to give power or authority” and “to enable or permit”. The key elements in empowerment are “enabling “ and “providing power”, they reinforce each other .In practical terms, and empowerment would mean the process of challenging existing inequality, power relations and of gaining greater control over sources of power by the under-privileged.

Actually, women have subordinate status and it has different form, in relation with race, class, age, area, people as well as ethnicity. Gender is not a synonym with women .Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a particular society considers, appropriate for men and women.

 

Measurements of Empowerment:

Using the information SEC ’96 by DSS of ICDDR,B women empowerment has been measured by three indicators:

  • Mobility
  • Influence on contraceptive use
  • Control over income through credit money.

This chapter discusses women’s mobility in details.

Mobility:

Mobility is commonly available modes of movement of persons from one place to another. This study has been described mobility as women can go outside of the village by taking permission from their husband or other elder persons of the family. The bivariate and multivariate analysis for mobility with other variables has been studied here.

 

 

Bivariate Analysis of Indicators of Women’s Empowerment (Mobility)

Taking Permission and Age of Women:

Table: Percentage of married women who need to take permission to go outside by age.

 

 Taking permission

Age of women

 

 

Total

 

P value

      ≥4535-4425-34≤24
     Yes 

 

 

 

20.73731.510.9100 

0.100

     No 

 

29.526.534.39.6100
Total2927.234.29.7100

Table has been given the information’s on women’s mobility, measured in the current study “Taking permission to go outside “by age.  Here, currently married women were asked whether they need to take permission to visit outside from their husband or other elder persons of the family or they can visit outside without taking permission. By age, it has been found that 34% of the women, whose age are between 25-34 years, can go outside without taking permission. On the other hand, 37% of the women whose age are between35-44 years, said that they have to take permission .That is, they have the restriction on their mobility. P-value is showing that women’s age is significant for their mobility (at 10 % level of significance).

Women’s can Visit Alone to Go Outside

   Visit alone    TotalP value
   Yes       No
 

 

      Taking permission

Yes40.259.81000.000
No 3763100
Total 3862100

Table: Percentage of married women who need to take permission to by their visiting status:

Table represents the percentage of married women who need to take permission to by their visiting status that is the women can visit alone or not in outside.  From P value, it can be said that visiting status is highly significant with taking permission to go outside. From the table, it has been found that 37% of respondent, who can go outside without taking permission can also visit alone. Besides, 40% respondent, who has to need permission from their husband and others, cannot visit alone that is they have to be accompanied by somebody, when they want to go outside.

Use of Purdah :

Table: Percentage of married women by permission to go outside and their use of purdah.

Use of PurdahTotalP value
YesNo
Taking  Yes64.735.31000.03
permission     No73.826.2100
            Total73.226.8100

The above table represents the percentages distribution of married women, who have the restriction on their mobility that is they have to take permission to go outside by their use of different type’s purdah.

The respondent was asked about the use of purdah. This table represents that 73.8% of the women , who can go outside , without taking permission , use different types of purdah and 35% women , who need permission  to go outside , from their husband or other elder persons of the family , don’t use purdah . P-value shows that use of purdah is significant (at 5%) with permission to go outside.

 

Taking Loan from Any Development Organization

Table: Percentage of married women by permission to go outside and take loan from any development organization.

Taking loanTotalP value
YesNo
Taking  Yes93.16.91000.02
permission No85.914.1100
Total86.413.6100

Table represents the percent distribution of women’s mobility according to involvement with BRAC, Grameen Bank, NGO or others banks, from which, the women can borrow loan.

From the table, it has been shown that, 85.9% of the women, who can go outside, without taking permission, have taken loan from many development programs and   try to change their   fortune. On the other hand, 6.9% women, who have to take permission to visit outside, from husband or others, don’t taking loan, from any NGO or other development programs. P- value shows that at 5%level of significance, permission to go outside is significant with taking loan.

 

Education of the Women:

Table Percentage of married women by take permission to go outside and their educational status.

Taking permissionEducation 

Total

 

P value

NoPrimarySSC & lessHigher
Yes62.718.617.111000.009
         N056.432.610.60.4100
Total56.731.8110.5100

Table represents the percentage of married women, who have to take permission to go outside from their husband or other elder relatives of the family and their educational status. From the table, it can be said that, among the women, who can go outside without taking permission, 32.6% are primarily educated, 10.6% have the education SSC or less and 0.4 % are highly educated.  Also, from the table, it has been shown that, among all the women, who have the restriction to go outside without taking permission, 18.6 % are primarily educated, 17.6 % have the education SSC or less and 1% are highly educated. The P-value represents that taking   permission to go outside is highly significant with respondent’s education.

 

Influence on Contraceptive Use

Table: Percentage of married women by taking permission to go outside and their influence on contraceptive use.

   Influence on contraceptive use 

Total

 

P value

          YesNo
Taking  Yes        2971  1000.000
permissionNo25.574.5  100
Total    25.674.3100

The above table presents the information’s about respondents influence on use of contraceptives, to delay or avoid pregnancy. The currently married women have been asked about who have most influence in deciding to use family planning the first time she used it. Among the currently married women, who have no restriction on mobility, 25.5 % of them (respondent alone and jointly with husband) can influence on the use of contraceptives .On the other hand, 29% women, those, who have the restriction on mobility, don’t have any influence on their contraceptives use. Their husband and other elder relatives of the family, totally influence about this issue.  Here, P-value shows the highly significant effect with respondent’s mobility and their influence on use of contraceptives.

 

Results ands Discussions:

Here tablerepresents the analysis of logistic regression model for taking permission to go outside, which is an indicator of women’s empowerment. Here we consider taking permission to go outside as dependent variable which is dichotomized by assigning 1 if the respondent needs not to take permission from her husband or other elder members of the family to go outside. The dependent variable is dichotomized by assigning 0 if the respondent needs to take permission from her husband or other elder members of the family to go outside.

Age of the Women

In the logistic regression model, the corresponding parameter estimate, the age of the respondent is significant at 5% and 10% respectively. The results of the analysis show that younger aged women are more likely (8.74, 8.71 and 8.2 times respectively) to go outside without taking permission comparing with the older age women. This is because of the fact that the younger aged women; they took loan that is why they feel that they are empowered and don’t need to take permission. In other words, the younger aged women are little bit educated that is why this also another reason to go outside without taking permission from anybody

Education of the Women

It has been found that education of the respondent is highly insignificant for taking permission to go outside. Even all of the educational categories (Category 1: Primary, Category 2: ≤SSC, Category 3: Higher) are insignificant. This result is very much logical in the context of Bangladesh. Because our social norm is that girls have to take permission to go outside whether they are educated or not .Even in the urban areas, such type of culture is practicing. That is why; our sample also represents such type of result. Educational status of women does not play any role for going outside without taking permission that means, they have to take permission to go outside.

Women can visit alone

Referring back to table, we get the parameter estimates of the logistic regression model   “Respondents can visit alone” which is the respondents visiting status .The corresponding parameter is highly significant (<1%) for taking permission to go outside .The result of the analysis shows that the respondent , who can visit alone to relatives , outside the village without taking permission , is more likely (9.98 times) as compared to the women , who cannot visit outside alone .This is due to the fact that most of the women ,who can visit alone , are related with BRAC , Grameen Bank ,NGO or other development organizations and they can earn money and hence they have strong influence on family and family welfare. These empowered women can go outside without taking permission from their husband or other elder members of the household and they can visit alone.

Using Purdah 

From table it has also been found that from the logistic regression model, the parameter estimate regarding “purdah” is highly insignificant. Our society is very much conservative. Here girls have to do purdah. Even our religious norm is like this, that means women have to follow purdah .Our sample has been collected from the rural area. In that case, women have to maintain purdah by following customs and religious rule. In that case, it has been found that that whether women maintaining purdah or not, it has no impact on taking permission to go outside. Thus purdah has no role for women’s empowerment as purdah is our religious rules and social norm and this result is very much logical.

Loan Status

From the current analysis, it has been reflected that involvement with any development programs is significant (at 10%) for taking permission to go outside. The result implies that the respondents , who are involved and taking loan from BRAC , Grameen Bank or other development organizations, are more likely (2.308 times) to go outside without taking permission from their husband or other elder members , than the women , who are not involved with development programs and hence not taking loan . This result is similar with the result of previous result (respondent can visit alone).Similar, with that, it can be said that they are taking loan and they can contribute to their family. As a result, they are empowered and don’t need to take permission to go outside.

Most Influence on contraceptive use

Normally, we know that “Influence on contraceptive use” is an important effect of empowerment. By analyzing the data, it has been found that who have better influence on contraceptive use, they are also taking loan that is they are empowered and for this reason they don’t have to take permission to go outside .and, our analysis supports this .It has been found that the corresponding parameter estimate of the logistic regression model is highly significant at 2% level of significance. That is , the women , who has influence on contraceptive use , is more likely (9.98times) to go outside without taking permission as compared to women , whose contraceptive use is mostly influenced by their husband alone and by other relative.

Summary

For upward social mobility of women, they need to be educated, involvement in earning, as well as, they need to be realized by the patriarchal society. The present study has analyzed the “Mobility” in two ways (bivariate analysis & multivariate analysis).From the bivariate analysis it has been found that respondents’ age, their educational status, involvement with any development program from which they have taken loan, visiting status, use of purdah and their influence on contraceptive use – all of these variables have significant effect with women’s mobility. And these variables have been included in the multivariate analysis to see whether these variables have any influence on mobility or not. According to the multivariate analysis, as a final point, it has been found that, age of the respondent influences on mobility which implies comparatively younger women have “less restriction” to go outside than the older women. On the other hand, education has no effect on mobility. The respondents who can go outside without taking permission; they have no restriction on visiting alone. And since purdah is a religious norm, it has no impact on women’s empowerment & mobility. Their mobility is also related to their loan status. Women who have taken loan from BRAC, Grameen Bank, other NGOs or banks, they can go outside without taking permission from their husband or other elder member of their respective families. The women who are empowered to go outside without taking permission are also empowered to make decision or to influence on the use of contraceptive. So considering “mobility” we can say that women are empowered.

 

Women’s Empowerment: Control of Earning through the Loan Money 

Introduction:

Empowerment as a strongly articulated goal of development interventions has become very attractive in the recent years, in the poor countries of the world. There has been a steady arrival of literature on empowerment ever since the perception gained the reputation in mid nineteen-eighties. Empowerment of women and issues related with advocacy are now in the foreground as development studies progress towards a more integrally gendered approach. Many development agencies now realize that the key to long term poverty alleviation in developing countries is empowerment, in its broadest sense of increasing self-reliance of poor people and especially poor women (1998).Overholt et al. (1985) defined empowerment as access to and control over resources and benefits in the context of women. Korten (1986) defined empowerment as “Control, specially the control over and the ability to manage productive resources “. He emphasized that the control over an action should rest with the people who will bear this consequences .Conger and Kanungo (1988) defined empowerment as a “Process of enhancing feelings of self efficacy among organizational members through the identification of conditions that foster powerlessness and through their removal by both formal organizational practices and informal techniques of providing efficacy information “.

Control of Earning through the Loan Money:

In this study, using the data SEC 1996 by DSS of ICDDR’B, the important indicator of women’s empowerment is measured by the “control of earning through credit money “. In this chapter, we have discussed who have the control on the income, which is earned by using the credit money, which credit money is borrowed by the women of the family. Now, bivariate and multivariate analyses of indicator of women’s empowerment have studied.

 

Bivariate Analysis of Indicators of Women’s Empowerment (Control of earning through loan money)

Age of Women

Table: Percentage distribution of currently married women by the control of earning through loan money and their age: 

Control of earning through loanAge of womenTotalP value
≥4535-4425-34≤24
 No 

 

 

29.926.333.510.21000.003
Yes

 

2035.2404.8100
Total     2927.2   34.29.7100
 

 

The above table gives the information’s about the women’s, who have the control on the income through the credit money by their age. P- value shows that  age  has the  significant effect on  the control of income ,using the loan money  .Those respondents  who ever had a loan from BRAC , Grameen Bank , NGO or other development organizations were asked  about who have the controlled on earnings. From the table it has been found that women, whose ages are less than 24 year among them 10.2% women and others have the control on income. Also women  ages are between 25-34 , 35-44 and above 45 years can  control  alone and others (not husband )their income by 33.5% , 26.3% and 29.9% respectively. Besides, the percentages of women ages are less than 24, 25-34, 35-44 and above 45 years are 4.8%, 40%, 35.2% and 20% respectively have no controlling power on income. The control of income is completely controlled by the husband.

 

Educational Status of Women:

Table: Percentage distribution of currently married women by control of earning through loan money and their educational status.

Control of earning through loanEducation 

Total

 

P value

NoPrimarySSC & lessHigher
No56.331.611.5 0.5100 

0.100

Yes60.832.96.30100
Total56.231.8 110.5100

 Table express the percentage distribution of currently married women by their controlling power on income throughout credit money and the educational status. According to this table  it has been seen  that  the women who have the control on earning throughout the loan among them  56.3% have no education and 31.6% , 11.5% , 0.5%  have primary , SSC and less , higher education compared to those women  whose income from loan  have entirely controlled by their husband. Here P-value shows the significant effect (at 10 % level of significane) with education and control over income through loan.

 

Reasons for Taking Loan:

Table: Percentage distribution of currently married women by control of earning through loan money and different reasons for taking loan.

Control of earning through loanReasons for taking loan 

Total

 

P value

OthersAgricultureBusinessConstruction & repairing homeSmall shop
No 24.335.7 

34.3

 

30

 

5.7

 

100

 

 

 

 

0.000

Yes 

7.1

 

43.6

 

19.2

 

7.7

 

22.4

 

100

      Total12.441.214.6     14.617.3100

 

 

The above table represents the percentage distribution of currently married women by control of earning through loan money and the different reasons for taking loan. Also it has been found from the P-value that reasons for loan has highly significant impact on control over income. From the table it can be said that the women who have control on income alone and others, among them 35.7% have taken loan for agriculture, 34.3% have taken loan for business, 30% have taken loan for constructing and repairing home, 5.7% have taken loan for small shop and 24.3% have taken loan for other different reasons.

 

Taking Permission to Go Outside

Table 6.4: Percentage of married women by control on earning through loan money and need to take permission to go outside.

Taking permission 

Total

 

P value

 

Yes

 

        No   

   

 

Control on earning through loan

 

 

    No

 

 

 

6.3

 

 

 

93.7

 

 

 

100

 

 

 

 

0.074

 

 

    Yes

 

 

2.5

 

 

 

 

97.5

 

 

 

 

 

100

 

    Total

 

 

 

5.9

 

94.1

 

 

100

Table 6.4 expresses the percentage distribution of married women who have control on earning using their loan money by their mobility that is the women have to take permission to go outside or not. From P-value, it can be said that need to take permission to go outside is significant with women’s controlling power on their earning by using the loan. From the table  it has been found that 93.7% of women who have the power alone and others (except  her husband) on controlling their earning from credit money, can also go outside without taking permission from their husband or other elder relatives of the family. Besides 6.3 % respondents, who have no influence on the control of income through the loan they have the restriction on their mobility that is they need to take permission to go outside of the village. The control of income of the family is wholly restricted by their husbands.

 

Results and Discussions:

Age of women

The parameter estimate of “Age of women “in the logistic regression model, are highly insignificant for all the categories of age. This is because of the fact that since the controlling power is handled by the male person; in that case it is no matter whether the women are younger or older.

Education of Women

Education shows some significant effect on controlling income through credit. Women who are primarily educated, their husbands are 0.483 times less likely to control of income, comparing with the group who are not educated. Thus, we can say that though the women are little bit educated, they have some controlling power also in case of control of income through loan.

Loan Reasons

For the variable “Reason for loan”, it has been fond that all of the categories except constructing and repairing home, are highly significant. Husbands when use the loan for agriculture, business, small shop purpose, then they can control income more likely (5.706, 17.279 and 14.541 times respectively) compared to when the loan money is used for other reasons. Here we can say that the husband who are doing agriculture, business and small shops, they can control income through loan money. That is because of the fact that may be their income is not sufficient for the family. On the other hand the estimate “Constructing and repairing home” is insignificant. This is because of the fact that may be the work constructing and repairing home is controlled by the women.

Taking Permission

The estimate of parameter “taking permission” shows insignificant effect for controlling income through loan money. Usually in Bangladesh, the male member of the family control the income and it is no matter whether the women can go outside without taking permission from their husband or other elder members of the family. The result is little bit unusual because when women can go outside without taking permission, they have some power in the family, so that they may have control on the income through credit money. But our sample shows contradictory result.

Summary

From the above analysis finally we can say that women have no significant effect on controlling income. On the other hand the women who are little bit educated they can at least control their income through loan. For the loan reason, it has been found that mostly the income through loan money is controlled by the husband. And finally the women, who need to take permission or need not to take permission in that case their husbands, totally control their income.

 

Conclusion and Discussion

Introduction:

The first part of the final chapter of the current thesis deals with the discussion about the empowerment of rural borrower and non borrower women. Though the recent study is not a comparative one, where the borrowers are compared with non borrowers, here some discussions have been made about them. The remaining part of the chapter sheds  some light on discussions  about the health awareness knowledge of the rural women , whose empowerment status have been studied and finally , some suggestions have been given to improve the situation.

Findings of the Current Research:

In a word “Women’s Empowerment” cannot be defined properly .In this research we explain women empowerment in different angles and the study measured some dimensions of empowerment. We looked at empowerment more elaborately and try to understand how it comes about.

According to SEC’96 by HDSS of ICDDR,B, there are three indicators for women empowerment which are discussed below and we can define it in that respect.

  1. Mobility
  2. Control over income through loan money
  3. Influence on contraceptive use

Mobility:

In this study, women’s mobility is measured by whether they have to take permission to go outside from their husband or other elder members of the family or not.

According to bivariate analysis , it has  evident that 34.3% women , whose ages are  between 25-34 years , can go outside without taking permission from  others and on the other hand 37.5 % and 21% women ,whose ages are  between 35-44 and above 45 years , have to take permission to go outside. That means, usually aged women need to take permission compared to young women. The study also found that 37% women who can visit alone go outside of the village and they need not take permission from their husband or other elder family members.

Analyzing the data, it has been also found that ‘Purdah’ has significant impact on women’s mobility. By using purdah, about 74% women can go outside without taking permission .From the data it has been expressed that mobility is positively related with women’s loan status. About 86% women, who have taken loan from BRAC, Grameen Bank or other NGO’s , have no restriction to go outside .The analysis also shows that the women who can go outside without taking permission among them 32.6% are primarily educated and 62.7% are uneducated .Only 25.5% women have the most influence on contraceptive use who have no restriction for mobility.

From the multivariate analysis, it can be exposed that comparatively younger aged women have the freedom to go outside. Education shows no significant impact on women’s mobility .All the category of education shows insignificant effect for mobility. The women who can visit alone are almost 10 times more likely to go outside without taking permission compared to women group  who cannot  visit alone .Using  of purdah shows no significant impact for mobility. Borrower women have the freedom to go outside. They are 2.3 times more likely to go outside without taking permission compared to the non borrower women.

The recent study also shows that when the women have power to influence on the use of contraceptives, they can also go outside without taking permission .These women are 9.98 times more likely to go outside compared to women who have no power on use of contraceptives.

Thus  by analyzing the data and in depth discussions it is evident that  women’s mobility status has increased at a significant level .Women can go outside alone , they are taking loan to improve their families economic conditions .Also, women have the influence on use of contraceptives. Thus by increasing the women’s mobility status their interaction with others increases, they may concern about their right, their out knowledge is also developed .Thus women become empowered.

 

Women’s influence on contraceptive use:

From the bivariate analysis of the indicator of women’s empowerment “Influence on Contraceptive Use”, it has been found that young women have most influence on use of contraceptives. Almost 41% women whose age between 25-34 years, have the most influence on contraceptive use. The data of the recent study also express that almost 29% women, who are primarily educated, have the influence on contraceptive use and 12.6% women whose educational status is SSC or less can influence on contraceptive use .The women who have no power on use of contraceptives, among them 50% are uneducated.

The data shows that only 17% borrower women can influence their contraceptive use to delay or avoid pregnancy .These women have the controlling power to make the final decision about their use of contraceptives. Visiting status shows significant effect with women’s influence on contraceptive use. By analyzing the data it can be said that about 29% women who can go outside alone, also have the most influencing power in the use of contraceptives. On the other hand about 92% women, who can’t visit alone, have no influencing power on their use of contraceptives.

Again, it has been found that above 96% women who have the freedom to go outside without taking permission from their husband or other elder members of the family, have the power to influence on contraceptive use. Women’s mobility status shows highly significant effect influence on use of contraceptive .As purdah is our religious norm; it shows no impact for influence on contraceptive use.

The multivariate analysis also shows that age does not play any significant role for this indicator. All age categories show insignificant effect. Age is an unimportant factor for influencing use of contraceptives. Women’s educational status also shows no significant effect for this indicator .Although the educated women have more controlling power on   their use of contraceptives but our sample shows opposite result in that case. But the data shows positives result for loan status and influence on use of contraceptives. Borrower women have more power for influencing on contraceptives. The women who are taking loan, they have strong say about their contraceptives use. Loan status is very much important issue for this indicator.

Another significant factor for women’s influences on contraceptive use is women’s visiting status. The women who can visit alone are 1.89 times more likely to control their use of contraceptives compared with the women who the need of accompany of others to go outside.  The women who have the freedom to go outside without taking permission, they can also have controlling power on the use of contraceptives. Like previous indicator, purdah shows no role for women’s influence on their use of contraceptives.

As a whole, finally, we can conclude that women can visit alone, can go outside without taking permission, borrow loan from BRAC or other development organizations, they can now discuss about their use of contraceptives with their husband .Also they have the power to take decision about it and also can influence mostly about the use of contraceptives to delay or avoid pregnancy. Thus the women can take care of their reproductive health.

Control of Income through Loan Money:

From bivariate analysis of the indicator women empowerment “Control of Income through Loan Money” it has been found that almost 40% women, whose ages are between 25-34 years, can’t control the earning through credit. Their income is totally controlled by their husband. By studying the educational status it can be said that almost 12% women whose educational status is SSC or less, can control the income through loan. Education shows significant effect for controlling income. By analyzing the different reasons for taking loan, it has been found that husbands are control income when the loan reasons are agriculture, small shop or business .On the other hand, when loan money is used for construction and repairing home or other different reasons, they can control the income. It has been also expressed that about 94% women have the power on controlling their earning through loan, can also go outside without taking permission from their husband or other elder members of their family.

According to multivariate analysis it has been found that women’s age shows insignificant effect for this indicator .Also, it can be said that primarily educated women have little bit power about controlling income through credit money compared to uneducated women. Other educational categories show insignificant effect .From the analysis it can also be  shown that it plays no role for controlling income whether women can go outside without taking permission or not. On the other hand when the loan money is used for agriculture, shop or business, then the income is totally controlled by husband.

Finally, it can be said that although women can go outside without taking permission, they can visit alone, they have the power on influencing on use of contraceptives, but power of controlling money is entirely controlled by husband. Although women are borrowing money but they can’t use the loan money, their decision get no priority, no value about how the loan money should be used. Consequently women have no power for controlling income through loan.

Health Awareness Knowledge:

In this research the women’s health awareness knowledge has been studied whose empowerment status also has been discussed before. The analysis has given the information that when the women become pregnant almost 85% of them take prenatal care facilities from different sources. Almost 95% women take tetanus injections during their pregnancy among them 77% take more than 2 doses, 18.2% receive one dose. Also it has been found that 89% women are assisted by at least one sources of birth attendant during delivery. Almost all mothers (99%) give colostrums to the infant, which have very influential effect to safe life of baby. 

Different Essential Factors for Live Birth:  

From the bivariate analysis it has been found that the age of mothers and mother’s loan status shows insignificant effect for live birth. On the other hand mothers educational status, their prenatal care, birth attendant, receiving tetanus injection during pregnancy play significant effect for live birth. It can be concluded from the multivariate analysis that prenatal care, birth attendant, receiving tetanus injections shows significant effect and mother’s age, education and loan status are insignificant for live birth.

Child immunization, Diarrhea and Sanitation Latrine:

In case of child immunization almost 95% children receives first dose of DPT and polio (DPTP), 92.1% receives second dose and 89.5% receives third dose. Also 85% children take Measles vaccine and BCG vaccine is received by 95% children. When the children are suffering from diarrhea 49% of them receive ORS. Almost 97% women use tube well water for drinking purpose but for other daily use such as washing , cooking , most of the women use tank (pond) water. Only 4% women use modern latrine, 13% use slab latrine, 23% use open (pucca) latrine and almost 60% use other different unhygienic latrine.

Thus we can conclude that after taking loan women can visit alone, go outside without taking permission and take loan. They are also concerned about different health awareness issues .The percentages of live birth has increased since they receives prenatal care, birth attendant , receives tetanus injections .They give colostrums to their new born baby. Their awareness about child immunization diarrhea, sources of drinking water have increased.

 

Recommendations:

To empower the women of Bangladesh, the society must recognize the productive roles of women. The process of empowerment should be followed by conscious efforts of society, which requires the following steps-

  • Female education should be encouraged particularly in the rural areas. The present complications & bottlenecks in educational administration should be removed.
  • Equal rights of women in all phases of society will have to be ensured.
  • Women’s equal access to and control over all social recourses in the family and community should be ensured.
  • It is very much important to bring changes in the attitudes and practice of male & also community leaders about the women and also they have to be conscious about the women’s rights.
  • Different NGO training institutes should include gender issues in their training programs. Steps should be taken to arrange group discussions, where both husband & wife should jointly discuss about their rights, how they should co-operate with each other and how to avoid tendency of husband to dominate.
  • For social recognition of the principle “Women’s rights are human’s right”, a program for social conscientization & sensitization will have to be launched.
  • To increase the access of women & children to health services, the number of health care centers should be increased. NGO’S will also have to be actively involved.
  • Strengthening the education about reproductive health, nutrition, child immunization etc.
  • Traditional healers & birth attendants should be trained & included in the local level of health program.
  • National health policy and drug policy should be review and special programs should be under taken to cater to women’s health needs.
  • Social awareness should be enlarged to improve the sanitations systems. Habit of not using latrine or using the bushes needed to be strongly condemned.
  • The importance of safe water to the rural society should be described.
  • Mass media can play a vital role about the above regards by printing & broadcasting special programs.

Scope for Further Research:

The concept of empowerment has many dimensions. It requires in-depth investigation for a social science perspective. The study is based on limited number of indicators for empowerment and also limited health issues have studied here. There is a scope for finding the affect of access to mass media. Finally, the present study proves wide scopes for any further relevant studies.

 

Summary

Though the loan has been controlled by the male but women can go outside, they have the power to influence on the use of contraceptives. So the women are little bit empowered. Women’s out knowledge has increased; interactions with others have also developed. So they can discuses about many issues for their own rights and they can contribute to their family’s welfare. All of these improvements are taking place as they are empowered.

The health awareness knowledge has also increased as women are empowered. Their decision making power has been increased, they receive prenatal care, assisted by birth attendants during delivery time, receive tetanus injections as they are empowered. Since they can contribute to the family economically that is why they have the access to these facilities. As a whole, empowerment is very much important factor for women’s health awareness. Empowerment actually helps them to take proper steps about their child immunization and during the occurrence of diarrhea. Possessing empowerment implies having power over one’s own activities such as mobility, power to influence on contraceptive use and also receiving different health facilities during pregnancy etc.

A real picture of our society has been come out from the analysis of the present study. It has been found that education shows no significant impact on empowerment. Educated women can be suppressed by their male partners. On the other hand purdah is our religious norm .the recent study shows that there is no relation between women empowerment and purdah. Women have to follow purdah though she may be empowered or not.

Finally, we cannot say that a striking change has been occurred in women’s life but we can say that they are going through a pathway for changing pattern of their life that can be said as Women’s Empowerment.

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