Purpose- The purpose of the present study is to investigate the effect of micro credits received from Imam Khomeini Relief Committee on the empowerment of the female heads of rural household in the central part of Zanjan City.
Design/methodology/approach- This is a descriptive-analytical study based on observation, interview and questionnaire. The statistical population of the present study consisted of female heads of rural households covered by Imam Khomeini Relief Committee in 38 villages of central Zanjan County. To achieve the objectives of the study, all female headed households in 38 villages of central Zanjan (n = 110) were selected using whole population count method. The data collection was conducted using library analysis and field surveys, and the main research instruments were interview and questionnaire. The questionnaire mainly consists of closed-ended questions and answers are rated on a 5-point Likert scale.
Finding- Micro-credit had the greatest impact on social empowerment of female-headed households and there was a positive relationship between the allocated credit and economic empowerment of female-headed households although the coefficient indicated a weak correlation between the two variables. In addition, these micro-credits contribute to the economic empowerment of female heads of rural households by improving the employment opportunities and income.
Practical implications- In light of the financial weakness of rural women, it is suggested that educational classes be organized to improve rural women's empowerment and their access to credit and financial resources through the establishment of cooperatives.
Originality/value- The present study explored the capabilities of rural women in different dimensions influenced by micro-credits. The results of this study can help rural development planners and policymakers enhance women empowerment in rural communities.
Rural development, Women's empowerment, Micro-credit, Zanjan County
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