Global progress towards gender parity across critical areas of life is still at the disadvantage of women. Women are in a disadvantage position in such areas as the ownership and control over assets, access to affordable credit, social reproduction, to socio-political representation, cultural practices and participation in formal sector of the economy. The consequence of such disparities limits the extent women can exercise choice and make decisions economically, socially, and politically. Therefore, how to flatten the curve and reverse these disparities remains the subject of the subsisting women’s empowerment conundrum about whether others can externally determine empowerment, or if women have to be the agents of their empowerment. What then defines the empowerment framework and understandings of the form that empowerment should take remains debatable. This paper critically reviewed how the empowerment of women has been discussed and conceptualised within development studies, with particular focus on women’s economic empowerment. The paper further looked at issues around women’s empowerment measurement and indicators; identified some frameworks for measuring women’s empowerment. Lastly, the author proposed a conceptual framework within which women’s empowerment might be assessed. To this end, women’s economic empowerment was defined as the extent women exercise control over decisions relating to accessing and use of resources and the resulting household reality.
Women’s empowerment has become a global affair in the contemporary discourse for the developing countries. This paper examined the impact of microcredit schemes on women’s empowerment in rural Bangladesh. The data was collected from 324 rural women borrowers on a field study from four villages in the district of Tangail, Bangladesh through the administration of questionnaires. This research was conducted during the period of July to December 2016. Data was also collected from women non-borrowers to compare the impact between borrowers and control-group. Data has been analyzed by SPSS software and also Logistic Regression is used to estimate the impact of empowerment of women after participating in microcredit program. A significant outcome of this research showed that microcredit has a positive impact on women’s empowerment and promotes microcredit borrowers women to participate in the household decision-making process through acquiring the self-esteem, business skills and confidence level.