Ccurrent situation in Bangladesh in terms of ‘women’s empowerment’
Bangladeshi women are at a disadvantage as they face barriers in all aspects of their lives. The disadvantage is noticeable, for example, in terms of medical services, economic opportunities, political participation and property management. At present, various programs are being implemented in Bangladesh for the purpose of increasing women’s participation, eliminating gender inequalities, and fostering awareness of the benefits of empowering women and girls throughout society. And at the core of those programs is the concept of ‘women’s empowerment’.
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In an effort to address the issue of gender-based violence, support groups are working with the Government of Bangladesh to promote the implementation of the DV Prevention Act of 2010 (Rahman,2015). In addition, support groups provide training for human rights advocates (half of whom are women) to ensure that the DV Prevention Law and other human rights laws are properly enforced (Ibid.). In addition, such support groups also provide assistance to social protection groups, which consist of social workers, doctors, religious leaders, teachers and students (Ibid.). The purpose of this is to help social protection groups monitor domestic violence in the community and help victims to sue for legal action to resolve household issues.
It is very important to promote women’s empowerment so that women can participate fully in economic activities in all sectors. Women’s empowerment is essential for strengthening the economy, achieving international goals for development and sustainability, and improving the quality of life for women and men and thus the community as a whole.
<importance of women’s empowerment in terms of business>
In 2012, the World Bank’s “World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development” was announced. According to IFC Former Secretary Lars H. Tunell, the position of women and girls has soared dramatically, however there are still many challenges in women’s economic empowerment, a key to poverty reduction (International Finance Corporation, 2012). The “World Development Report” in fiscal 2012 raises awareness of policy makers and stakeholders on the important steps specifically for what to do to enhance development outcomes by reducing gender gaps.
As a member of the World Bank Group, IFC supports the work of the World Bank and governments by supporting women’s participation in business (International Finance Corporation, 2012). IFC emphasizes that women’s full participation in business improves corporate performance and delivers broad benefits.
In collaboration with the World Bank, IFC has developed a way to achieve “mainstream gender” in key regulatory reforms that impact women entrepreneurs (International Finance Corporation, 2012). In other words, this approach is to put a gender perspective at the center of all policies and plans so that analysis of the impact on women and men. Based on this approach, they are systematically reviewing all investment environment reform projects and exploring the possibility of incorporating elements that meet women’s needs. IFC will focus on creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs and creating jobs for women workers, and will monitor the impact of investment projects on women’s advancement into society (International Finance Corporation, 2012). In order to enhance women’s position in business, IFC will work with strategic partners to find innovative approaches and seek to transform regional and global markets through the creation of women’s business opportunities.
<The potential and approach of microcredit>
Currently, microcredit, which is being implemented to reduce poverty, has also been successful. Microcredit is a support system that enables women in rural areas to receive unsecured loans. By using this, it is possible to start small self-employed businesses, which leads to the independence of women. In Bangladesh, microcredit is implemented in 473 Upodillas (counties) in 64 provinces (Rahman,2015). In addition, the spread of mobile phones and the Internet in recent years has allowed more women to access information.
The use of microcredits has made it possible for women to become financially self-sustaining, and to stabilize household finances (Rahman,2015). Furthermore, the constraints on forming a career in areas that women like are no longer being eliminated (Ibid.). Having women’s professional occupation leads to realization of empowerment, but now it can be said that the possibilities have become limitless (Ibid.).
For example, women are able to demonstrate their talents even in professions such as scientists and pilots, who were previously considered to be men only (Rahman,2015). This means that along with the change in social order, women’s prejudice by men is resolved and women are more likely to adapt to the workplace.
＜micro credit change＞
In Bangladesh since 2007, the microfinance institution (MFI), a leader of microfinance, is facing a major turning point in microcredit (CGAP, 2013).
This is related to changes in the situation surrounding MF in Bangladesh. For example, originally there was a group solidarity liability system without debt for debt, but now, even if there are cases where meetings are held regularly, this system is no longer used, and the group It can be said that the debt solidarity liability system has disappeared (CGAP, 2013). This change was one element of a radical institutional reform called Grameen II, which Grameen Bank launched in 2002 (CGAP, 2013). In addition, about understanding of microcredit, in Bangladesh, microcredit was introduced in the 1970s, and many households have benefited from MF over three generations in each household, and they are familiar with the mechanism, and have a basic understanding of the loan could be said to have penetrated society (CGAP, 2013). Furthermore, the Bangladesh economy has continued to grow, and the per capita income has steadily increased due to the creation of employment by construction of sewing factories by foreign capital focusing on remittance income from overseas migrant workers and cheap labor. This is a clear change compared to the microcredit introduction period.
On the other hand, a livelihood improvement program has been developed from the point that microcredit does not reach the bottom 20% of people who are the poorest people, and among them, the BRAC’s approach to targeting the poorest people (Targeting the Ultra Poor: TUP) (CGAP, 2013), CGAP / Ford Foundation has been tried in 10 sites in 8 other countries (CGAP, 2013).
<future plan of microcredit>
This paragraph describes the future direction of microfinance.
First of all, one of the changes in microcredit is the expansion of loan size. In particular, the loan size of the project increased rapidly from 2011 to 2012, which is due to the MRA setting a 27% interest rate cap (CGAP, 2013). BRAC will no longer offer loans under $ 125 (CGAP, 2013). In addition, for example, additional loans (Top-up loans) that can be used for rescheduling adopted by Grameen Bank and BRAC have been tried, and an attempt has also been made to shift the repayment due date of microcredit from weekly to monthly doing(CGAP, 2013).
The expansion of the loan scale and the extension of the repayment period seem to help micro-credit borrowers to give them more discretion. This greater discretion allows the borrower’s business to be more challenging and encouraged to enrich the business itself.
The second factor to support future microfinance will be the use of mobile banking.
Mobile payment services are currently developing rapidly in Bangladesh.
In the past, money settlement in Bangladesh was centered on checks and cash. People who did not have bank accounts had only cash payment, and had to go to urban bank branches and wait in line in front of the window to pay for utilities (BANGLAND, 2017). This method is inconvenient, and having cash always at hand also poses a security risk. Such time-consuming and time-consuming payment has been a heavy drag on productivity improvement in Bangladesh’s economy.
Meanwhile, in 2009, the Bank of Bangladesh led “Bangladesh Payment and Settlement Systems Regulations”, and the bank’s financial settlement system developed dramatically(BANGLAND, 2017).
Following this, in 2010, the Central Bank led the “Bangladesh Automated Clearing House (BACH)”, which consists of “Bangladesh Electronic Funds Transfer Network (BEFTN)” and “Bangladesh Automated Check Processing System (BACPS)” (BANGLAND, 2017). As a result, the payment settlement service of the whole Bangladesh country was modernized.
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These institutional and system improvements have made it possible to facilitate bank-to-bank fund settlement and enable large-scale fund settlement in a short time. In addition, the convenience of people’s commerce has been dramatically improved by facilitating electronic payment using credit cards and debit cards.
In addition, mobile finance was born in 2011 and spread rapidly throughout the country(BANGLAND, 2017). Mobile finance, which enables remittances and payments by using mobile phones, provides a convenient means of payment for people who do not have a bank account, because it is not necessary to go through a bank account. As of 2016, about 37 million people are mobile finance registrants, and new business models using this are emerging one after another(BANGLAND, 2017).
Currently, the services that are accepted by mobile finance business operators include such as payments from foreign remittances, payments between individuals and businesses (salary payments.), payments from individuals to the government (tax payments, etc.), microfinance payments (BANGLAND, 2017).
In the past, when paying a salary in a business, salaries for people who do not have a bank account are paid and received in cash, which is a time-consuming task for employers, and employees need to supplement cash Inconvenient and risky. But with these services, it is possible to transfer to a mobile finance account, which benefits both employers and employees.
<Micro Credit Future Development Plan>
This is a type of microfinance that allows people without a bank account to use financial services such as money transfer using a mobile phone.
<example of Empesas>
In the traditional business, the business for BOP (Base of the Pyramid) is not well understood. In addition, even if financial services were provided, transaction costs were high, so only limited groups could be targeted.
However, the spread of mobile phones is changing microfinance. According to CGAP estimates, 1.7 billion people in the world do not have bank accounts, even if they have mobile phones.
In that respect, “Empeas” implemented in Kenya can be said to be a revolutionary financial service using mobile phones. Empesa is a type of microfinance that allows people who do not have a bank account to use financial services such as money transfer using a mobile phone.
For example, a family living in a rural area has become ill and needs antibiotics but has no money. If you have relatives working in Nairobi (the capital of Kenya), you can easily transfer drug charges through Empesa. We know that if there is a crisis of life, such as a financial crisis or drought, Empera can better cope with the problem.
- Bubble Rahman, 2015. [online] Available at:< http://www.kfaw.or.jp/correspondents/docs/26-3_Bangladesh_J.pdf>[Accessed 6 June 2019].
- Faraizi, A. H., McAllister, J., & Rahman, T., 2010. Microcredit and women’s empowerment: A case study of Bangladesh. London: Routledge.
- Mohammad, J. U., 2017. The micro-politics of microcredit: Gender and neoliberal development in Bangladesh. Abingdon: Routledge.
- CGAP, 2013. Microcredit Crisis Averted: The Case of Bangladesh. [online] Available at:< http://www.cgap.org/sites/default/files/Focus-Note-A-Microcredit-Crisis-Averted-July-2013.pdf> [Accessed 6 June 2019].
- BANGLAND, 2017. Growth Industry Report: Financial Services and Funds Settlement [online] Available at:< https://www.jica.go.jp/bangladesh/bangland/reports/report30.html>[Accessed 6 June 2019].
- International Finance Corporation, 2012. Women and Business-Driving Force of Development-[online] Available at:< https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/51e381804d2e574fa2f6e7f81ee631cc/TOS_Women_August2012.pdf?MOD=AJPERES> [Accessed 6 June 2019].