Bangladesh, the land of micro-finance, is the model for other countries in the world since micro-finance has brought a revolutionary change in the rural financial system of the country. This revolutionary change enhanced women empowerment in a true economic sense. It has become possible to move out rural women of extreme poverty, malnutrition, and social sub-ordinance.
The present population of Bangladesh is around 163 million and 65% people live in rural areas. In addition to that women are the half of this huge population. The government as well as other policy makers stepped forward with the aim of making rural development as a cornerstone of national development. They have also taken an initiative to enforce development activities based on gender equality. To achieve these goals, micro-finance should play a prominent role along with digitalization, education accessibility, and social awareness.
The concept of micro-finance was first introduced by Nobel prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus through his organization called Grameen Bank. Rural women can borrow money from this organization and start their own poultry, dairy farm, agricultural business, etc. Md. Rustam Ali, a project associate in National Service Project of Bangladesh, wrote an excellent overview regarding rural women empowerment from micro-credit. There is a branch of Grameen Bank near his workplace. He observed that women with very little education are allowed to take a credit in the range of 2000 Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) to 100000 BDT (1 USD = 80 BDT approximately). And most of these women used their loan amount to buy farm animals, taking other people’s land for cultivation by some mutual agreement, purchasing household tools for safe keeping own house or even building a house for the extreme cases as well, marrying their children off etc. They became important policy makers in their own homes due to their financial contribution to the family.
One of the participants of that branch of Grameen Bank, Momtaz Begum, she took a loan for establishing a small business. Her husband works on a daily labour basis to others agricultural farm. He can manage work on the harvest times. So it was hard enough to manage a family consisting of six members. Momtaz Begum came forward to feed her family as well. She worked as a housekeeper but it was really hard to manage because her youngest son was only a six-month baby. So she decided to start a business by her own. She took a loan of 20000 taka from Grameen Bank, it was the happening of two years ago. She bought a rickshaw for her husband that he could earn money in the period of no work in agricultural farms. With the rest of the money, she set up a grocery shop.Her eldest son can help her in the shop after his school. Momtaz hard days are passing away.
The main finding is that women are now contributing to the family beside their counterparts in Bangladesh. It is especially good news for rural women they come from their cocoons. Micro-finance system at least makes hopes for them that they can lead for their own as well as for the society. Once they were subordinate, discriminated, and treated as an inferior part of the society. At present, they have proved that they have the same potentiality, capability, worth and courage as men. It is the Grameen Bank and the legendary Professor Yunus who made the imagination with an enthusiastic functioning.
It is a good news for Bangladesh that she is now treated as a role model throughout the world for enhancing women capability by the micro-finance system.
Kumar,D., Hossain,A., & Gope, M.C. (2013). Role of Micro Credit Program in Empowering Rural Women in Bangladesh: A Study on Grameen Bank Bangladesh Limited. Asian Business Review.3, 4,114-120.
Grameen Bank, Banking for the Poor. The web page of Grameen Bank.
Special thanks go to Mr. Ali, I asked him to give some information about this issue. His cordial assistance gives me a clear understanding and informative function to write this blog.