Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Economics

Committee Chair

Jeff Bookwalter

Commitee Members

Doug Dalenberg, Ramona Grey


Bangladesh, gender empowerment, microfinance


University of Montana


Gender empowerment is an oft-cited result of microfinance participation. However, research to verify this outcome continues to produce ambivalent results implying that microfinance programs are not maximizing their potential impact. While gender empowerment may be a desirable end to development, it is less often used as a means to achieve development goals. This paper tests the hypothesis that gender empowerment improves microfinance program performance using data from the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) and a theoretical framework based on prevalent institutional ideologies. The results show that empowered clients have a higher likelihood of attaining desirable program outcomes. These results can be taken as evidence that microfinance organizations should consider investments in support programs to directly address social impediments to gender empowerment as a way to increase their overall effectiveness.



© Copyright 2008 Taylor Michelle Cook