Does market inclusion empower women? Evidence from Bangladesh

IFPRI Discussion Paper 2008

41 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2021

See all articles by Kalyani Raghunathan

Kalyani Raghunathan

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Gayathri Ramani

International Food Policy Research Institute

Deborah Rubin

Cultural Practice, LLC

Audrey Pereira

Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Akhter U. Ahmed

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Hazel Jean Malapit

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: March 17, 2021

Abstract

Increased market inclusion through participation in agricultural value chains may increase employment and household incomes, but evidence on its empowerment impacts is mixed. In societies with restrictive social norms, greater market inclusion can enhance existing income and empowerment inequalities by relegating marginalized groups, including women, to low value chains or lower value nodes within those chains. We use primary data from rural Bangladesh to investigate the associations between households’ primary economic activity – agricultural wage-earning, production, or entrepreneurship – and absolute and relative levels of men’s and women’s empowerment. Women in producer households, on average, fare better on empowerment outcomes than women in wage-earner or entrepreneur households; the opposite is true for men. The gap between men’s and women’s empowerment scores is also lowest in producer households. A decomposition of these results into composite indicators yields insights into potential trade-offs, while accompanying qualitative work highlights the importance of social and cultural norms in shaping the economic roles women can adopt. With a push towards diversification of agriculture into higher value market-oriented crops, more careful programming is needed to ensure that market inclusion translates into an increase in women’s empowerment.

Keywords: BANGLADESH, SOUTH ASIA, ASIA, empowerment, gender, women, women's empowerment, agriculture, livelihoods, mixed model method, value chains, rural areas, households

Suggested Citation

Raghunathan, Kalyani and Ramani, Gayathri and Rubin, Deborah and Pereira, Audrey and Ahmed, Akhter U. and Malapit, Hazel Jean and Quisumbing, Agnes R., Does market inclusion empower women? Evidence from Bangladesh (March 17, 2021). IFPRI Discussion Paper 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3806613

Kalyani Raghunathan (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Gayathri Ramani

International Food Policy Research Institute ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States
2028625600 (Phone)
20005 (Fax)

Deborah Rubin

Cultural Practice, LLC ( email )

4300 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 305
Bethesda, MD 20814-4444
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.culturalpractice.com

Audrey Pereira

Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Akhter U. Ahmed

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Hazel Jean Malapit

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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