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Nature and impact of women's participation in economic activities in rural Bangladesh: insights from household surveys

Listed author(s):
  • Hossain, Mahabub

    (International Rice Research Institute (IRRI))

  • Bose, Manik Lal

    (International Rice Research Institute (IRRI))

  • Ahmad, Alia

    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Registered author(s):

    Based on household-level data collected in 1987 and 2000 this paper first depicts the patterns and trends in women´s work and secondly, analyses the factors that work behind gender division of labour in rural Bangladesh. An empowerment index is developed from the data on household decision-making in different spheres, and its relationship with women´s work is then explored. The persistent gender division of labour in rural Bangladesh has been found to be associated with both economic factors - wage rates, access to production factors like land, micro credit, infrastructure) and socio-cultural factors - norms and customs regarding women´s mobility and gender role in production and reproduction. Economic activities within the household have been found to have weak impact on empowerment. Two policy implications emerge from the study: 1. Promotion of female education to enable women to take part in market activities in the non-agricultural sector where gender disparity in earnings is less. 2. Investment in infrastructure that can facilitate women´s mobility outside the household as well as can reduce the burden of domestic work.

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    Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2004:20.

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    Length: 25 pages
    Date of creation: 14 Sep 2004
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2004_020
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden

    Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
    Fax: +46 +46 2224613
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    1. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, April.
    2. Jordans, E. H. & Zwarteveen, M. Z., 1997. "A well of one's own: gender analysis of an irrigation program in Bangladesh," IWMI Books, Reports H020806, International Water Management Institute.
    3. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1978. "Rural Wages, Labor Supply, and Land Reform: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 847-861, December.
    4. Jordans, Eva H. & Zwarteveen, Margreet Z., 1997. "A well of one's own: gender analysis of an irrigation program in Bangladesh," IWMI Books, International Water Management Institute, number 113611.
    5. Bardhan, Pranab K, 1979. "Labor Supply Functions in a Poor Agrarian Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 73-83, March.
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