Gender and Rural poverty in Myanmar: A Micro Level Study in the Dry Zone

The study investigates the poverty incidence, access to resources, and the factors influencing income of both male and female-headed households in the dry zone of Myanmar. A household survey was conducted in six villages with a sample of 220 households in 2003. The Cost of Basic Needs (CBN) method was applied in constructing the absolute poverty line. By applying the absolute poverty line of 252 Kyats per person per day, the female-headed households are more likely to be poor than the male-headed households with or without household size adjustment. Results of the regression analysis revealed that average per capita income of rural households is significantly influenced by 8 independent variables. They are: gender of household head, household size, land holding size, degraded land size, cattle heads, labour force, sources of income, and irrigation water. Moreover, the separate regression analyses were run for male and female-headed households. In addition to the some common significant variables (land, labour, cattle, degraded land, and household size), female-headed households’ income is significantly influenced by training attendance and schooling years of household head. In male-headed households, age of household head, number of income sources and irrigation water are highly linked with the average per capita income. The gender focus rural development strategies should be adopted for promoting the welfare status of both male and femaleheaded households in the dry zone.