Gender norms, labour supply and poverty reduction

This four-year project (2014-17) focuses on women's well-being with respect to their attitudes and work situation in India and Bangladesh.

The objective is to fill a key knowledge gap concerning variations in the gender impact of poverty alleviation interventions in rural India and Bangladesh. A particular focus is placed on social differentiation in attitudes to women's work, and its subsequent effect on women's work itself in rural settings with a high degree of poverty. The project contains three work packages:

Research takes place in two geographic areas, rural Bangladesh and rural low-income parts of India. The project has an international comparative aspect and a tight focus on the experiences of rural families, both poor and non-poor. This will assist us in the unpicking of the different roles played by contextual factors that may appear similar (notably Hindu and Muslim cultural differences, purdah and the large informal labour market). We will analyse data from each country separately before publishing comparisons, as prior experience points to several aspects that differ substantially between the two countries.

Project website


  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development (DFID) (Joint fund for poverty alleviation research)

Grant amount


Manchester people

  • Wendy Olsen
  • Kunal Sen (Institute for Development Policy and Management)

Affiliates and partners

  • Simeen Mahmud (BRAC University, Dhaka)
  • Sohela Nazneen (BRAC University)
  • Maheen Sultan (BRAC University)
  • Alakh Sharma (Institute for Human Development, New Delhi)
  • Daniel Neff (GIGA Institute of Asian Studies, Hamburg)