The final document of the Nairobi Conference, the Forward Looking Strategies (FLS) for the Advancement of Women, lists among its objectives: Every woman should have an opportunity for self supporting employment. In rural Bangladesh, women had no access to the formal employment market nor access to credit to engage in income generating activities before the advent of the garments manufacturing sector and the Grameen Bank. This study documents the result of an investigation into the effects of women's economic participation and earnings on their marital decision-making power. It also looks at other dimensions of women's decisions-making including political participation and provides a good illustration of how religious values are important in understanding the ideals concerning sex roles. Organised into seven chapters, the book deals not with the negative results of gender discrimination but with positive aspects of recognition of the differences between men and women in relation to access to production resources, education, employment and assets and discusses a set of implications of the findings pertaining to family sociology theories and social policies in Bangladesh. The author recommends the expansion of the Grameen Banks credit operation towards accelerating change in women's status of rural Bangladesh. The book should be of interest to policy planners, and academic and research communities interested in women and development and economic development.
Ainon Nahar Mizan completed her education in Bangladesh and the United States. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, USA. She is involved in research on women and development, gender issues and information technology.