Thesis Paper on Empowerment of women Plans and Policies of Rural Women in Bangladesh
Subject: Human Resource Management | Topics:


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.

 Background of the Study:

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.


Lack of access to credit

Domestic & social violence

Downgraded Status of      Rural Women

Lack of health consciousness

Patriarchal values & superstitions

No decision making power

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?

 Limitations of the Study:

  1. As secondary data has been used in the study, so some necessary information for women empowerment is not available in the data set.
  2. ICDDR,B does not cover the area of whole Bangladesh.
  3. The recent information about microcredit is not available in ICDDR’B after 1996 census performed by HDSS.

Review of Literature

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.


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”.

J. 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:

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.

Logistic Regression Analysis:

The relative importance of all the variable need to be examined simultaneously and hence raises the importance of some multivariate technique. The study uses logistic regression for the purpose.

Different statistical models exist for the survival data. Suppose there are n individuals, to some of whom the survival related events occurred which are called “success” and the others are “failure”. Then = 1, if the i-th occurrence is a success and = 0 if the i-th occurrence is a failure. Suppose that for each of the n individuals, p independent variables (to be discussed later) , , … … …   are measured. These variables can be either qualitative, such as sex, or quantitative, such as number of children, education, family size etc. The problem is to relate the independent variables , , … … …   to the dichotomous dependent variable .

A linear probability function estimated by the last square is inappropriate. Ordinary least square (OLS) provides inefficient estimates and imprecise predictions. Especially noticeable with the OLS estimation is the lack of restriction to the unit interval (0, 1) with predictions. The OLS linear probability function is sensitive to extreme splits in the dichotomous dependent variable. The estimators are then greatly influenced by the nature of the dependent variable. One possible method is the ordinary linear regression analysis technique. Assume that ‘s are normally distributed with mean  , variance   and   is defined as probability of success that is,

=p ( =1) … … … (1)

=1- =p ( =0); i =1,2…., n

Is linearly dependent on ’s.

The model may be written as

= +  … … … (2)

The least square technique is applied to estimate the coefficients , consequently, for a new individual; can be estimated by substituting the ‘s values into equation (2)

The limitation of the method is the deals the dichotomous dependent variable as qualitative, which leads to further problems. The assumption of normal distribution is violated and hence no linear method can estimate efficient. The least square estimate also may use a fitted value that fails to satisfy the interval condition {0,1}. As a result difficult calculation may appear.

The problems thus direct to the application of Cox’s linear logistic model. The model describes the dependence of the probability of success as:

   … … … (3)

   = 1-

The coefficients are to be estimated.

The practical deals of the model are quite troublesome. So another equivalent expression is derived:

    Logit( ) = ln{  } =  … … …    (5)

This definition of the model is called the logic model. It is the logarithm of the ration of the probability of success to the probability of failure. This is a linear logistic model and is also known as the logistic transformation of Pi.


The logistic model in terms of odds of probability of the event presents the interpretation in a more understanding and easier way. The corresponding expression is:

Odds =  =

Then the interpretation of the coefficients is the change in the log odds associated with one unit change in the independent variable.

The center of interest is Bj positive B refers to the incre3ased odds and negative terns the exponential term less than 1, which leaves the odds unchanged.

 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.


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