Methods: This paper uses the BDHS 2007 survey of 10,400 households in which they interviewed 10,996 ever-married women between the ages of 15 and 49 and ever-married men between the years of 15 and 54. The survey was designed to produce representative estimates for the indicators for the entire nation, for urban and rural areas, and for each of the six major divisions of Bangladesh. This paper, however, uses the Women's Questionnaire only, as microfinance loans are primarily intended for poor women in Bangladesh,. The key variables are: microfinance (recipient vs. non recipient) as a dichotomous variable, the wealth index created by the original survey designers, autonomy conceptualized as ‘freedom of movement' and domestic violence measured using the Conflict Tactics Scale. Chi Square and MANOVA analyses are used to delineate the relationship between microfinance receipt and wealth, autonomy and domestic violence.
Findings: This study found that there were no significant differences in autonomy between poor women who accessed microfinance and those who did not. Those who used micro-finance were significantly more likely to have less wealth. There were significant differences in domestic violence between recipients and non recipients of domestic violence, with higher levels among those who access micro-finance, controlling for literacy, education, and wealth. Autonomy was not associated with domestic violence among either group.
Implications: With millions of micro-finance recipients across many countries, including Bangladesh, there is a strong need to better understand the context and effects of micro-finance receipt. The findings in this study, including those on domestic violence, allude to the need for future qualitative studies to further elucidate the context and effects of microfinance receipt in Bangladesh.