Women Empowerment in Bangladesh

Topics: Sociology, Empowerment, Change Pages: 7 (2232 words) Published: November 4, 2012
Women Empowerment in Bangladesh
Women’s empowerment is defined as “women’s ability to make strategic life choices where that ability had beenpreviously denied them” (Kabeer 1999). Women empowerment now is often accredited as an important aim of international development policies, and many donor agencies include women’s empowerment in their development strategies. Although empowerment is often conceptualized as a process (Cueva Beteta 2006; Kabeer 2001; Malhotra and Schuler 2005), most quantitative studies have been cross-sectional, comparing individual women with others in their communities or societies(Malhotra and Schuler 2005). In the development of indicators it is usually implicitly assumed that higher levels of empowerment represent a change from a pre-existing situation in which women have more limited power, influence, freedom, or autonomy; but such changes have rarely been measured using a common set of indicators. Such studies can be valuable for cross national comparisons (UNDP 1995; Ibrahim and Alkire 2007) and for documenting change over time, particularly at the macro- or meso- levels, but I would argue that the meanings and salience of empowerment indicators are likely to evolve over time both in developing interventions to foster women’s empowerment and in documenting empowerment processes.

A woman's level of empowerment is defined here as a function of her relative physical mobility, economic security, ability to make various purchases on her own, freedom from domination and violence within her family, political and legal awareness, and participation in public protests and political campaigning(Sidney Ruth Schuler and Syed M. Hashemi,1994).

Women empowerment in Bangladesh means giving women of the country the power to rule and govern their own lives, away from traditional and social constraints. The women empowerment movement in Bangladesh focuses on giving women the power and authority they need to be men’s equals. The structures of sub ordinance that have keep women in the dark for so long must be eliminated. Women must have intellectual resources that can be acquired through good education and material resources that can be accumulated with the help of a solid job. Women in Bangladesh work in rural areas and do most of the manufacturing labor as well as most of the harvesting. This traditional practice needs to stop. The violence against women must also stop. Women need to gain a lot more power over their decision making process. They should not be seen as fertility machines that have only the goal of reproducing. Most of the violence against women that takes place in Bangladesh is located in urban and rural households. Violence against women is an old, patriarch practice that focuses on establishing the balance of power in the family. The system of early marriage for girls is also a cause for violence against women because little girls are forced into new families from an early age. There, they have to work like adults. Bangladesh is a society that perpetrates the myth of the mother as a divine creature. Women who do not get pregnant are considered inferior because they can’t bear children. This is a male tradition that limits the mobility of women all over the country. Global NGO’s that are working towards helping women get empowered in Bangladesh are still facing difficulties because Bangladesh is a closed society which allows very few changes. In Bangladesh, gender inequalities are a social construction that can be eliminated with time.

History of Women Empowerment:
Bangladesh accomplished independence from Pakistan’s economic exploitation, political and cultural suppression in 1971after a long period straggle. Though the country has homogeneous culture, language, and social norm, but social hierarchy is divided by the gender, especially women, and classes of the society. Post-independence (i.e. after 1971), women’s organisations focused on a broad range of issues such...

References: 1. Manisha Desai, Hope in Hard Times1: Women’sEmpowerment and Human Development.
2. Women’s empowerment revisited: a case study from BangladeshSidney Ruth Schuler, Farzana Islam, and Elisabeth RottachSidney Ruth Schuler: sschuler@aed.org; Farzana Islam: Farzanaislam_25@yahoo.co.uk; Elisabeth Rottach:
3. IMPACT Model of Women’s Empowerment, 2010.
4. Nature and Impact of Women’s Participation in Economic Activities in Rural Bangladesh: Insights from Household Surveys, 2004.
5. Mobilizing for Women’s Rights and The Role of Resources: Synthesis Report – Bangladesh (February 2011).
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