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Women Empowerment in Bangladesh : A Study of the Village Pay Phone Program

by Hultberg, Linda

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose with this study is to find out how the mobile phone and the Village Pay Phone from Grameen Telecom have been implemented into women’s life in rural Bangladesh. It also aims to study how the women have become empowered by this program. The sample constitutes sixteen female owners. A purposeful cluster sampling was used to depict six villages from various parts of Bangladesh. When arriving in the villages a snowball sampling method was used to find female VPP owners. The sampling method was chosen to include a sample of various characteristics. The study has a hermeneutic phenomenological approach, which aims to find out how the women experience the VPP and what meaning the women put in it. To collect empirical data interviews with open questions were used that opened up for conversation and the possibility to understand a range of experiences and nuances of meanings. The findings indicate that the majority of the women handed over the VPP to their husband or a male relative. The reason why is the families’ pressure on them to adjust to Purdah and seclusion, too much domestic work, lack of education, or because of the attitude among men and women both that business is a male domain. The study shows that women mostly gained some prestige. Also, they got a greater self-esteem to meet strangers since the VPP made them meet more people. But it has also brought quarrels and broken some friendships. All women are now more able to call family and relatives when they needed or wanted to and said that they have full access to use the mobile phone for this purpose. Still many are put in a dependency relation to others as they need help to use it. The women, however, are no longer owners of a status symbol because the mobile phone is more available for others today, but they are still known by name. Their homes do no longer attract visitors as it once did during the initiation of the program. There has also been a significant decrease in demand for the VPP that has lessened the income much and some have become even poorer from the VPP and women seldom benefitted personally from the profit. A few of the women mentioned that the family atmosphere had improved but most of them did not say that they had gained influence in the family as a result of the VPP.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:development women empowerment gender mobile phone vpp bangladesh

ISBN:

Date of Publication:09/05/2008

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