Journal of East Asian studies

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Journal of East Asian studies Volume 2
published_at 2003-12

Poverty and Women Development in Bangladesh

Poverty and Women Development in Bangladesh
Rahman Pk. Md. Motiur
Bangladesh has nearly 50 percent of the total population living in poverty. The causes of poverty are complex and no single factor is sufficient to understand and explain the dynamics of poverty. A large number of inter-linked factors are responsible for incidence of poverty. The process of poverty has been described as reduction of resource endowment and exchange entitlement. In the last two decades there has been some socio-economic progress in Bangladesh. Progress has occurred in GNP per capita, school participation, adult literacy rate, life expectancy at birth, and infantand and maternal mortality rate. The value of Human Development Index (HDI) has roughly doubled from 1980 to 1998-99. The Human Poverty Index (HPI) has also declined from 1981-82 to 1998-2000. But the level of progress of socio-economic indicators including HDI ans HPI could not improve the standard of living significantly and the resultant impact on income poverty reduction in rural areas has been minimal. Women, particularly in rural areas, receive less benefit from economic development and have less opportunity to earn income than do. Besides economic aspects women have less empowerment in decision making process in respect of purchase of family's food and clothing, family's investment activities, spending ones own income, children's education and marriage. Less than one in 10 women in Bangladesh works for wages and nearly 8 out of 10 women work as family labour without any cash income. They do not get benefits of employment and have no entitlement to control over resources. However, many development policies and programmes have been undertaken for development of women status and to increase their income opportunities. They are increasingly targeted as beneficiaries and some specific quota has been introduced for them with respect to microcredit, employment, food rations, public safety-net programme, etc. These measures have enhanced the voice of women in the interventions of development that affect their endowment and standard of living.