This paper explores the reasons why recent evaluations of the empowerment potential of credit programs for rural women in Bangladesh have arrived at very conflicting conclusions. Although these evaluations use somewhat different methodologies and have been carried out at different points of time, the paper argues that the primary source of the conflict lies in the very different understandings of intrahousehold power relations which these studies draw on. It supports this argument through a comparative analysis with the findings of a participatory evaluation of a rather different credit program in Bangladesh in which the impact of loans was evaluated by women loanees themselves.
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