Credit programs, women's empowerment, and contraceptive use in rural Bangladesh

S R Schuler, S M Hashemi
Studies in Family Planning 1994, 25 (2): 65-76
This article presents findings of research addressing the question of how women's status affects fertility. The effects on contraceptive use of women's participation in rural credit programs and on their status or level of empowerment were examined. A woman's level of empowerment is defined here as a function of her relative physical mobility, economic security, ability to make various purchases on her own, freedom from domination and violence within her family, political and legal awareness, and participation in public protests and political campaigning. The main finding is that participation in both of the credit programs studied, those of Grameen Bank and Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), is positively associated with women's level of empowerment. A positive effect on contraceptive use is discernible among both participants and nonparticipants in Grameen Bank villages. Participation in BRAC does not appear to affect contraceptive use.

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