Women’s Contribution in Rural Economy

Women play a vital role in the rural economy of Bangladesh. They make significant contributions to various sectors such as agriculture, livestock, cottage industries, and entrepreneurship. Despite facing numerous challenges, women in rural areas have been actively involved in economic activities, contributing to the development and growth of their communities. This article explores the role of women in the rural economy of Bangladesh, the challenges they face, and the initiatives taken to support their empowerment.

Women’s Role in Rural Economy

Agriculture and Farming

Women in rural areas of Bangladesh are actively engaged in agricultural activities. They play a crucial role in crop cultivation, from preparing the land to planting, nurturing, harvesting, and processing crops. They are involved in both traditional and modern farming practices, including rice cultivation, vegetable farming, and horticulture. Women also play a significant role in post-harvest activities such as sorting, cleaning, and packaging.

Livestock and Poultry

Women’s contribution to the livestock and poultry sector is substantial. They are involved in raising and taking care of livestock, including cows, goats, and poultry. Women play a vital role in animal husbandry, ensuring the health and well-being of the livestock. They also actively participate in milk production, poultry farming, and egg production, which contribute to their household income and nutrition.

Cottage Industries

Cottage industries are an essential part of the rural economy in Bangladesh, and women play a significant role in this sector. They are involved in activities such as weaving, spinning, pottery, handicrafts, and traditional arts. Women often work from their homes, producing various products that are sold locally and internationally. Their skills and craftsmanship contribute to the preservation of traditional arts and cultural heritage.

Handicrafts and Artisanal Work

Women in rural areas of Bangladesh are known for their skills in handicrafts and artisanal work. They create beautiful products such as embroidery, weaving, basketry, and pottery. These products have a high demand in the domestic and international markets, providing income opportunities for women in rural areas. Handicrafts also contribute to the promotion of tourism and cultural exchange.

Microcredit and Entrepreneurship

Microcredit programs have played a crucial role in empowering women in the rural economy of Bangladesh. Women are given access to small loans, which they utilize to start their own businesses and income-generating activities. These microenterprises range from small shops, tailoring units, food processing units, and more. Women entrepreneurs not only contribute to the rural economy but also become role models for other women in their communities.

Challenges Faced by Women in Rural Economy

Despite their significant contributions, women in the rural economy of Bangladesh face various challenges that hinder their empowerment and economic progress.

Limited Access to Resources

Women often have limited access to resources such as land, finance, technology, and markets. This limits their ability to fully engage in economic activities and hampers their potential for growth and development.

Gender Inequality and Discrimination

Gender inequality and discrimination persist in rural areas, affecting women’s economic opportunities. Women face barriers in accessing education, training, and decision-making roles. They also experience wage discrimination, limiting their earning potential and financial independence.

Lack of Education and Skills

Limited access to education and skill development opportunities further hinder women’s economic progress. Many women in rural areas lack formal education and vocational training, which limits their ability to explore higher-paying jobs and entrepreneurial ventures.

Cultural and Social Norms

Traditional cultural and social norms often restrict women’s mobility and decision-making power. They are expected to prioritize their domestic responsibilities over economic pursuits, limiting their economic empowerment.

Initiatives and Programs Supporting Women in Rural Economy

To address these challenges and support women’s empowerment in the rural economy, various initiatives and programs have been implemented in Bangladesh.

Government Policies and Programs

The government of Bangladesh has implemented several policies and programs to promote women’s economic empowerment. These include the National Women Development Policy, Women Entrepreneurship Development Project, and the Rural Development and Cooperative Division’s initiatives. These programs aim to providefinancial support, skill development, and market access to women in rural areas.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Several non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh are actively working to support women’s empowerment in the rural economy. Organizations like BRAC, Grameen Bank, and CARE Bangladesh provide microcredit facilities, entrepreneurship training, and market linkages to women. These initiatives have helped women start and expand their businesses, improving their economic well-being.

Microfinance Institutions

Microfinance institutions play a crucial role in providing financial services to women in rural areas. Institutions like ASA, Proshika, and Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) offer microcredit facilities, savings schemes, and financial literacy programs to empower women economically. These institutions have helped in poverty reduction, increased income opportunities, and improved living standards for women in rural communities.

Skill Development and Training Programs

Several skill development and training programs have been initiated to enhance the capabilities of women in the rural economy. These programs focus on imparting vocational skills, entrepreneurship training, and knowledge on modern farming techniques. Organizations like the Bangladesh Rural Development Board, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, and various vocational training centers provide training and support to women, enabling them to engage in income-generating activities.

Benefits of Women’s Empowerment in Rural Economy

The empowerment of women in the rural economy of Bangladesh has numerous benefits for individuals, families, and communities.

Poverty Reduction

Women’s economic empowerment contributes to poverty reduction in rural areas. When women have access to resources, skills, and income-generating activities, they can lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Increased household income improves living standards and provides better education and healthcare opportunities for children.

Food Security and Nutrition

Women’s involvement in agriculture and livestock activities contributes to food security and nutrition. They play a vital role in ensuring the availability of nutritious food for their families and communities. Women’s empowerment in the rural economy leads to improved agricultural practices, increased productivity, and enhanced food security.

Community Development

When women are economically empowered, they actively participate in community development initiatives. They become agents of change and contribute to the overall development of their communities. Women’s involvement in decision-making processes and community development projects leads to the creation of inclusive and sustainable rural economies.

Sustainable Agriculture

Women’s active participation in agriculture promotes sustainable farming practices. They are often more inclined towards organic farming, crop diversification, and conservation of natural resources. Women’s empowerment in the rural economy contributes to sustainable agriculture, ensuring the long-term well-being of communities and the environment.


Women’s contribution to the rural economy of Bangladesh is invaluable. They play a significant role in agriculture, livestock, cottage industries, and entrepreneurship. However, women face several challenges that hinder their economic empowerment. Initiatives and programs supporting women’s empowerment, such as government policies, NGOs, microfinance institutions, and skill development programs, have made significant strides in improving women’s economic status in rural areas. The empowerment of women in the rural economy has numerous benefits, including poverty reduction, food security, community development, and sustainable agriculture. It is crucial to continue supporting and investing in women’s empowerment to create inclusive and thriving rural economies in Bangladesh.

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