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Does Workforce Participation Empower Women? Micro-Level Evidence from Urban Bangladesh

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  • Hossain, Mohammad
  • Tisdell, Clement A.

Abstract

Empirical studies on the impact of women’s paid jobs on their empowerment and welfare in the Bangladesh context are rare. The few studies on the issue to date have all been confined to the garment workers only although studies indicate that women’s workforce participation in Bangladesh has increased across-the-board. Besides, none of these studies has made an attempt to control for the non-working women and/or applied any statistical technique to control for the effects of other pertinent determinants of women’s empowerment and welfare such as education, age, religion and place of living. This study overcomes these drawbacks and presents alternative assessments of the link between women’s workforce participation and empowerment on the basis of survey data from the two largest cities in Bangladesh. While the generic assessment indicates that women’s paid jobs have positive implications for women’s participation in decisions on fertility, children’s education and healthcare as well as their possession and control of resources, the econometric assessment negates most of these observations. Women’s education, on the other hand, appears to be more important than their participation in the labour force. The study underlines the fact that by omitting other relevant explanatory variables from the analysis, the previous studies might have overestimated the impact of women’s paid work on their empowerment. Among other things, the paper also highlights the importance of women’s job category, religion and regional differences for women’s empowerment.

Suggested Citation

  • Hossain, Mohammad & Tisdell, Clement A., 2005. "Does Workforce Participation Empower Women? Micro-Level Evidence from Urban Bangladesh," Social Economics, Policy and Development Working Papers 123451, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uqsese:123451
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.123451
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Mohammad, Hossain & Tisdell, Clement A., 2003. "Closing the Gender Gap in Bangladesh: Inequality in Education, Employment and Earnings," Social Economics, Policy and Development Working Papers 106948, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    8. Zohir, Salma Chaudhuri, 2001. "Social Impact of the Growth of Garment Industry in Bangladesh," Bangladesh Development Studies, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), vol. 27(4), pages 41-80, December.
    9. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Clement Allan Tisdell & Serge Svizzero, 2015. "The Malthusian Trap and Development in Pre-Industrial Societies: A View Differing from the Standard One," Working Papers hal-02152050, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Community/Rural/Urban Development;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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