Accepted paper:

'I am a woman, what can I do?' The challenges of targeting women in asset-transfer programmes in Bangladesh


Sally Faulkner (University of Sheffield)

Paper short abstract:

Asset-transfer programmes have the potential to stimulate economic empowerment through entrepreneurship, but there are a number of challenges that have to be considered when targeting women in patriarchal societies such as Bangladesh

Paper long abstract:

Asset-transfer programmes can be effective when working with the extreme poor, as they provide the potential for economic empowerment through entrepreneurship. Women are often identified as target beneficiaries, yet their selection of livestock options or small-businesses for male relatives to manage has implications for success. Understanding if and how asset-transfer programmes can bring about gender-transformative change is crucial for improving the situation of women. This paper uses qualitative data gathered from beneficiaries of the Economic Empowerment of the Poorest Programme (EEP/Shiree) in Bangladesh to analyse different factors, interests, constraints and opportunities that need to be taken into consideration when working with extreme poor women. Firstly, the paper documents the type of assets that beneficiaries tend to select, the key considerations behind these choices and the role women play in these decisions. Secondly, it highlights how gender dynamics can influence asset selection and therefore impact on the outcomes of asset selection programmes. Finally, the paper uses this analysis to inform delivery of asset-transfer progammes that target women.

panel E10
Gendered development: exploring the promotion of economic and social equality over time