Microcredit and Women Empowerment: Evidence from District Jhelum, Punjab
Author: Syed Obaid Gilani

Women in Pakistan, specifically in rural areas, are subject to many kind of deprivation (For example: Women’s Land Rights, Food Security and Livelihoods, Women Education and Women Health) due to which they remain disempowered. This study is an attempt to identify important aspects of the relationship between microfinance and women empowerment in selected area of Punjab province. The objectives of the study are achieved through descriptive analysis and logistic regression analysis. Data are collected from women customer of various microfinance institution operating in District Jhelum of Punjab Province. The descriptive analysis of the study maintains that most (75%) of the microcredit beneficiary were married, belonging to joint family systems and in the age of 31-40 years. Interestingly, 43.3 percent husbands started accepting their women more after starting the business, the decision of joining MFI are taken by 50 percent of women together with their husband and 58 percent women feel strong after taking loan from MFI. Most of the women (60 percent) got independent in their decision to purchase or repair their houses and 80 percent decided to work for earned income. Visits to friends and relatives are restricted for 63.3 percent women, interestingly, only 22 percent of the women had association with the political parties and (52.7) women participated in voting and democratic procedures. The presumption that microcredit play crucial role to empower women is approved by the empirical results. Higher age is positively and significantly associated with the economic, personal and familial empowerment. As compared to disjoint families, women belonging to joint family system are less empowered personally and socio-politically. In contrast, women belonging to joint families are positively and significantly associated with economic and familial empowerment. Husband as a household head have positive impact on women empowerment while there exist a negative association with father-in-law as a household head. Higher the household income, high will be the probability of women empowerment, more number of children positively affect women empowerment because women belongs to families having more children are necessary to work for earned income. As compared to unmarried, the chances of empowerment of married women are high because married women have more responsibility than unmarried women. Supervisor:- Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad

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Keywords : Familial Empowerment, Joint Families, Micro Credit, Women Empowerment
Supervisor: Iftikhar Ahmad

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