Rural women in Bangladesh have a lower socio-economic status compared to men. They have very limited access to income generating as well as social activities due to number of social, cultural and religious barriers. Thus, microcredit programme is intended for improving the socio-economic status of rural women in Bangladesh. In the present study, an attempt has been made to assess how microcredit programme contributes to the socio-economic development of rural women. The study is based on empirical data collected through interviewing the two groups of rural women for example, ‘with credit’ and ‘without credit’ rural women. A multiple regression analysis was conducted to identify the factors influencing the respondent’s contribution to the total monthly family income. The multiple regression analysis shows that there were strong positive effects of age of respondent, level of education, family size, earning member, occupation of respondent’s, and also monthly income of respondent’s while status of marriage has a strong negative effect. It was found that majority of the ‘with credit’ respondents contribute much higher to the family incomes than the ‘without credit’ respondents. The results also reveal that the ‘with credit’ respondents show higher educational attainment (schooling, secondary and higher secondary certificates) as well as engage in economic and social activities in a larger scale compared to ‘without credit’ respondents. The study concludes that microcredit programme contributes to the development of socio-economic status of rural women in Bangladesh through adequate and timely availability of credit for income generating and productive activities, improving women’s education level, and initiating skill development training.
Key words: Rural women, socio-economic status, microcredit programme, Bangladesh.
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