Men's violence against women in rural Bangladesh: undermined or exacerbated by microcredit programmes?

Dev Pract. 1998 May;8(2):148-57. doi: 10.1080/09614529853774.


PIP: This ethnographic study examined the sociocultural context of domestic violence in 6 rural villages in Bangladesh, and the prevalence of wife-beating and its association with women's empowerment in income generation programs (IGPs). Data were obtained from interviews conducted during 1990-96. Four villages had IGPs, and 2 villages did not have credit programs. Over 66% of women reported having been beaten at one time or another. In one village 87% reported beatings. 38% reported beatings in the preceding year (a range of 14-60%). Men beat their wives over trivial matters or frustrations over problems for which wives were not responsible. Beatings were attributed to mens' desire to control behavior and reassert their authority when challenged or to exploit their wives for financial gain. Some of the most severe beatings were linked with dowry. Both husbands and wives considered the beatings legitimate. The highest level of violence was in villages that were experiencing the most changes in gender roles and that had the most women contributing to family support. The lowest levels of violence were in villages with the fewest contributing to family support. Interviews, case studies, and observations yielded ambivalent evidence about the influence of credit programs on domestic violence. Credit programs have the potential to increase women's status and to disseminate anti-violence messages among both men and women.

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Bangladesh
  • Behavior
  • Crime
  • Culture*
  • Data Collection*
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Domestic Violence*
  • Economics
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Income*
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Psychology*
  • Research
  • Rural Population*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Social Problems
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women's Rights*