Women Empowerment in Bangladesh
Md. Joynal Abdin
Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation Wing, The SME Foundation
May 8, 2008
Empowerment means giving power & authority. So by women empowerment we mean giving power & authority to the women.
The process of empowerment requires transformation of structures of sub ordinance, control over material and intellectual resources, gaining decisions, making authority and reduction of gender inequality. This requires that women must recognize their strategic needs, their social position and understand how coercive it is. The women's strategic needs are here defined as to increase the women's bargaining capacity, reduce violence against women and make them gain more influence over decision-making.
Multi-dimensional difficulties and constraints have been encountered in the work for women's empowerment. Most of the violence towards women in Bangladesh takes place within the households. The reported cases of violence are increasing. There are two reasons for this. First of all the increased awareness of violence against women has facilitated uncovering occurrence of violence. Secondly, rural women are at a crossroad now and have been faced with the ideology of patriarchy, which help reinforce the power hierarchies within the family. The increasing trend of violence against women should therefore be explained as the outcome of a contradiction against the ideology of patriarchy, manifested in social restrictions against women's mobility, the system of early marriage for girls, restriction on negotiation rights etc.
A classic case of patriarchy is the assumption that the male must exercise control over women by limiting her mobility to the home. Such control of female sexuality is further elevated by creating an image of the mother as divine and women who do not live up to the ideal, as fallen women.
In Bangladesh the family is the breading grounds for some of the most persistent discrimination against women, such as sexual subordination of women, restriction of the mobility of women and different access to resources within the family. The NGOs are still facing difficulties when trying to convince the women that gender inequalities are not natural but a social construction.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17working papers series
Date posted: May 8, 2008
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