Rural sales programme and empowerment of women: A case study from Bangladesh
This thesis examines the impact of the Rural Sales Programme on the empowerment of women in Bangladesh. This study involves in-depth investigations of saleswomen’s lives who belong to a patriarchal society and are subjected to cultural and religious norms. My research shows various dimensions of women empowerment and factors that encompassed or underlay an Impact of the Rural Sales Program. Rural sales programme involving women is relatively new and was first introduced in Bangladesh in 2005. There has not been much research done on this. The impact of the Rural Sales Programme called JITA on the empowerment of women with a similar socio-economic background is emphasised in this study. The bargaining and empowerment theoretical framework toward gender and development concept has been employed alongside ethnographic methodologies which include field visits, participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and storytelling sessions with the saleswomen. This research has been conducted in ten different villages in the rural Tangail district in Bangladesh in 2015. An ethnographic style study was employed to understand the impact of rural sales programmes on participating women on different dimensions of empowerment. However, an important finding of this research is about women gaining confidence to set foot in the commercial arena outside their role as saleswomen. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with twenty rural saleswomen in their own sales territories, followed by detailed storytelling and participant observation. The findings of this research indicate that the saleswomen were empowered in the household with self-dignity and their social status, as well as their level of confidence, have uplifted since joining JITA.
- School of Management