Factors affecting the Sustainable Livelihood of Female Household Heads as the Clients of Microcredit Funds in Rural Areas (Case Study: Rural Areas of Ghaemshahr County, Iran)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University

2 Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources


Purpose-Since the rural unemployment rate has increased and rural dwellers suffer from the shortage of the basic requirements of life due to the lack of livelihood sustainability, it is important to address the significant role of Sustainable Livelihood in rural areas, particularly, regarding female household heads or women with unfit providers. Therefore, the present study has aimed to examine the factors that determine the SL of the afore-said women who have the membership of rural microcredit funds in Ghaemshahr County. 
Design/Methodology/approach-The data have been collected through a census with a sample of the female household heads and the women with unfit providers who are the clients of 30 microcredit funds in rural areas of Ghaemshahr County, Mazandaran Provice. (n=170). The data were collected through a researcher-made questionnaire, which was divided into two main sections of SL evaluation and the significant factors affecting the SL developed into 11 categories. The validity of the research tool was determined by the expert panels while the Cronbach’s alpha test determined the level of reliability. In order to analyze the data,the researchers employed SPSS25 and Smart PLS3 to obtain descriptive and inferential statistics.  
Findings-The results of the current study indicate that the personality, economic, support/service and cultural factors, respectively, with the path coefficients of 0.361 and 0.344, 0.291 and 0.266 had positive impacts on the SL of the aforesaid women. However, the first two factors had the confidence interval of 99% while support/service and cultural factors earned 95% confidence interval. Moreover, the results of the structural equation indicated that the factor of support/service had more impact on these women’s level of SL than other factors.     
Research limitations- One of the main limitations was the difficulty in identifying and accessing research population and the unbalanced distribution of microcredit funds in Ghaemshahr County.  
Practical Implications- There are several strategies that affect the ever-growing SL of female household heads, including government-supported facilities and low-yield financial services with the aim of enhancing fast-growing job opportunities, encouraging creative ideas and activities and entrepreneurships in rural areas, certain specialties, professional marketing for rural products and guaranteeing their dealership.    
Originality/value- The results of the present study can help the associated organizations and developers to focus on the accessibility and achievements of the predetermined objectives of the funds and financial services that address women’s activities -women financial services, especially,   the ones that creates fast-growing job opportunities. Given the current financial problems, the present study has aimed to improve women’s SL.  


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