A fairly large number of Bangladeshi women work on farms and play an important role in crop production. From collecting fodder to sowing to land preparation and livestock care, it is women who handle most of the stressful work in the fields.
However, their efforts are categorized as household work which economically undermines their participation. Added to this is the fact that they hardly have any right over the land on which they work.
Even in cases where women are land owners, various studies indicate that they leave most of the major decisions such as cultivation and supervision of their lands to the male members of the family. There are instances when women are forced to give up their inheritance rights in favors of other family members. Sometimes they do so on the basis of compassion.
Despite the introduction of a number of land reforms, the steps taken so far have largely been unsatisfactory, and women, especially those who belong to the lower classes, still face the typical problems.
Gender-progressive groups can play an important role in creating awareness of the land ownership issue. The female political leadership of the country can also introduce reforms in the current land ownership laws that were made years ago and have lost their usefulness. If the issue is dealt in the right manner, the majority of Bangladeshi women working in this informal sector can make a substantial contribution to the economy.
The women of Bangladesh have a long way to go in terms of land ownership and societal significance. The most plausible milestone would be the realization of their contributions and respect for their decision-making capacity.
The past few years have been sluggish when it comes to alleviating the social status of women. To achieve this proposition, women should be trusted in their agricultural work, household duties and businesses. Encouragement at all levels will work towards improving their overall situation.