Women in Bangladesh lack social status and even encouragement for their work in agriculture and business. Where are they headed?
It is essential for a society that aspires to be progressive to maintain the precarious balance of gender involvement as women can play the role of change-makers and give shape to an entire scenario. In such a society, what is required of women is perseverance in the face of discrimination, poverty, intolerance and adversity.
The women of Bangladesh provide an interesting study in how marginalized and suppressed factions strive to move forward with hard work and a touch of luck.
Cultural practices and norms often bar women from active participation in certain fields or from taking roads less traveled. However, Bangladeshi women have crossed many a threshold, including participation in politics and have been active in the political arena, especially since the 1990s. But there are still many areas where the condition and performance of women is far from satisfactory.
The Millennium Development Goals reiterate the fundamental need for women’s rights as far as education and empowerment is concerned. The Grameen Bank project led by Nobel Laureate Mohammad Younus primarily focuses on empowering women through micro-credit.
The project understands the central role of women in raising a family and in the alleviation of poverty. Therefore, it projects the whole idea by facilitating their social status. It is a general perception that women prefer small-scale businesses because those are easy to manage. The other reason is cultural norms that restrict women to low-income, low-profile jobs.
Bangladeshi women have always been active in the agricultural sector but since the land ownership laws are tilted in favor of men, women are compelled to transfer their rights to male family members to look after their land. It is rare to find a woman who has full-fledged rights to her land holdings.