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FARMING & RURAL SYSTEMS ECONOMICS
edited by Werner Doppler and Siegfried Bauer
VOLUME
72
Empowerment of Rural
Women in Ban...
Shahnaj Parveen
Empowerment of Rural Women in Bangladesh: A Household Level Analysis
edited by
Werner Doppler
Dept. of Agr...
Preface
This empirical study was carried out under the DAAD Programme ‘Agricultural Economics and
Related Sciences’ at the...
This study was financed by DAAD
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst
German Academic Exchange Service
TABLE OF CONTENTS i
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS …………………………………………………………
LIST OF TABLES ……………………………………………………………….
LI...
TABLE OF CONTENTSii
2.1.2.1 General Health and Nutrition…………………………….
2.1.2.2 Reproductive and Sexual Health…………………………
2.1....
TABLE OF CONTENTS iii
3.1.1.8 Gender Awareness………………………………………...
3.1.1.9 Gender Equality versus Gender Equity …………………..
3....
TABLE OF CONTENTSiv
4.4 Study Area……………….……………………………………………….
4.4.1 Rationale for the Research Site.……………………………….…..
4.4.2 ...
TABLE OF CONTENTS v
4.10.3 Other Relevant Terms…………………………………………...
4.10.3.1 Status of Rural Women………………………………...
4.10.3.2 ...
TABLE OF CONTENTSvi
6 ANALYSING RURAL WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT:
DETERMINANTS AND CONSTRAINTS…………………………………..
6.1 Status of Rural...
TABLE OF CONTENTS vii
6.3.6.4 Factors Influencing the Capacity of Rural Women to
Cope with Household Shocks……………………….…….
6...
TABLE OF CONTENTSviii
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1.0 Gender Related Development Indicators in South Asia, 2002… 3
Table 2.1 Numb...
TABLE OF CONTENTS ix
Table 5.5 Pair-wise Distribution of Non-formal Educational level of
Rural Spouses, 2002-2003………………………...
TABLE OF CONTENTSx
Table 6.12 Variation of Rural Women’s Asset Ownership (in ‘000’ Taka)
according to Farm Households, 200...
TABLE OF CONTENTS xi
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1.0 The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals………... 10
Figure 2.1 Gende...
TABLE OF CONTENTSxii
Figure 5.2 Comparison between Rural Women and Men based on their
Non-formal Educational Level, 2002-2...
TABLE OF CONTENTS xiii
Box 2.4 Measures Undertaken to Combat Violence against Women in
Bangladesh…………………………………………………….. 40...
TABLE OF CONTENTSxiv
BBS Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics
BCS Bangladesh Civil Service
BDHS Bangladesh Demographic and Heal...
TABLE OF CONTENTS xv
HDI Human Development Index
HFPP Health and Family Planning Programme
HIV Human Immunodeficiency Viru...
TABLE OF CONTENTSxvi
PSC Public Service Commission
PVO Private Voluntary Organisation
RRA Rapid Rural Appraisal
SAR South ...
INTRODUCTION 1
1 INTRODUCTION
This chapter sets out to explore some of the concerns related to on-going
marginalisation of...
INTRODUCTION2
Exacerbating these conditions, women continue to have systematically poorer
command over a range of producti...
INTRODUCTION 3
by men. In the case of atrocities against women, Papua New Guinea tops with 67
percent and India occupies t...
INTRODUCTION4
Bangladesh is ranked 138th
in the ‘UNDP Human Development Report 2004’,
with a Human Development Index (HDI)...
INTRODUCTION 5
ranks 72nd
, with a HPI value of 42.2 percent. The Maldives, on the other hand, the
best performer in the S...
INTRODUCTION6
Women toil for long hours in accomplishing such activities like sowing,
transplanting, fertilising, weeding,...
INTRODUCTION 7
representation of the efforts of women in the nation’s or world’s economy. It is
disheartening that in spit...
INTRODUCTION8
1.1.4.2 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women (CEDAW), 1979
Women’s iss...
INTRODUCTION 9
Agricultural Development (IFAD). The representatives of the heads of
State/Government were urged to work fo...
INTRODUCTION10
women, particularly in developing countries, to food security. The delegates of
the summit agreed to ensure...
INTRODUCTION 11
Beijing Platform for Action and also support the goals of the CEDAW and the
other international convention...
INTRODUCTION12
compared to men. Men hold the sovereign power to control households and
society as a whole while women are ...
INTRODUCTION 13
(4) What are the problems hindering rural women’s empowerment? and
(5) How can a viable strategy for promo...
INTRODUCTION14
b) Rural women are less involved in productive activities than their
husbands (Ha2). The null hypothesis (H...
INTRODUCTION 15
increased accommodation of women’s needs, less conflicts with husband’s
career and greater interaction wit...
INTRODUCTION16
interest, there is still much debate amongst researchers as to how
empowerment can be measured effectively....
INTRODUCTION 17
• Chapter 3 is devoted to explaining theoretical underpinnings of gender and
development. It provides the ...
SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW 19
2 SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN
OVERVIEW
The socio-economic status...
SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW20
It is a matter of concern that about 38 percent of the families are still ...
SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW 21
0
20
40
60
80
100
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 ...
SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW22
workers and preventing early marriages. However, enrolment of girls in
sec...
SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW 23
designed for children, adolescents and adults in order to improve their
e...
SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW24
Box 2.1: Contd.
- ‘Female Secondary School Assistance Project (FSSAP)’ sin...
SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW 25
is approximately 9 per 1000 population (PRB, 2004), with a higher rate in...
SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW26
About 2.6 million deliveries occur every year in the country, of which the...
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Dr Shahnaj Parveen
Professor
Department of Agricultural Extension Education
Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU)
Mymensingh-2202
Bangladesh
Mobile: ++88-01715 340215
Email: shahnaj1969@gmail.com

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Shahnaj complete thesis

  1. 1. FARMING & RURAL SYSTEMS ECONOMICS edited by Werner Doppler and Siegfried Bauer VOLUME 72 Empowerment of Rural Women in Bangladesh: A Household Level Analysis Shahnaj Parveen ISBN 3-8236-1469-X ISSN 1616-9808 D 26
  2. 2. Shahnaj Parveen Empowerment of Rural Women in Bangladesh: A Household Level Analysis edited by Werner Doppler Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Hohenheim, Germany Siegfried Bauer Dept. of Regional- and Project-Planning, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany Bibliographic information published by „Die Deutsche Bibliothek“ Die Deutsche Bibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the Internet at http://dnb.ddb.de. Layout Shahnaj Parveen Printing & Binding f.u.t. müllerbader gmbh, Filderstadt In the series „Farming and Rural Systems Economics“ methodological and empirical results of research in the fields of Farming Systems and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics is published. Pre-conditions for publication of a manuscript are: • the research concept is based on systems research and • it is related to disciplines like agricultural economics, economics, sociology, anthropolo- gy and policy. Manuscripts may be sent to Prof. Dr. Werner Doppler, University of Hohenheim, Department 490C, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany, or through email: doppler@uni-hohenheim.de © Margraf Publishers GmbH, 2005 Kanalstr. 21, P.O.Box 1205 D-97990 Weikersheim www.margraf-verlag.de ISBN 3-8236-1469-X D 26 ISSN 1616-9808
  3. 3. Preface This empirical study was carried out under the DAAD Programme ‘Agricultural Economics and Related Sciences’ at the Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany. The programme is exclusively designed for scholars from developing countries. While the gender issue has been considered as one relevant socio-economic aspect in previous publications of this series, this empirical study concentrates completely on this topic. The investigation was conducted by the author from 2001 to 2005 including a 6-month field survey in Bangladesh. This study also led the author to the attainment of a Ph.D. degree. The achievement of gender equality and empowerment for women is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is perceived that the status of women in Bangladesh is very low. In order to upgrade their status, this study seeks to explore and link various aspects involved in the empowerment process of rural women at household level. It follows a triangulation methodology combining both qualitative and quantitative data. This research will bring a new dimension in the area of gender study, research methodology and in formulating policy options for rural women’s advancement in Bangladesh. On behalf of the editors: Siegfried Bauer, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany Acknowledgements The author is grateful to Prof. Dr. Leonhaeuser for her continuous support and cooperation in completing the doctoral study timely. She is highly thankful to Prof. Dr. Bauer for his valuable suggestions in a series of seminars and his guidance that highly inspired the researcher to achieve such a magnificent success. The researcher is highly grateful to Amjath for his expert comments on the draft of the report, excellent editing and constant encouragement to accomplish this difficult task. She is particularly thankful to Immaculate who made outstanding comments and edited the thesis brilliantly. She is indebted to all her colleagues and friends, especially to Jacob, Victor, Silvère, Jofi, Richard, Jacqueline, Linda, Ulrike and Steffi for their intellectual support during the tenure of the study through discussions and encouragement. The investigator wishes to acknowledge the research grant provided by Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) to pursue her doctoral study in Germany. Finally, she offers her sincere gratitude to the colleagues of Bangladesh Agricultural University for their useful insights and valuable guidance during the period of field survey. She is highly grateful to enumerators and facilitators who patiently and accurately collected data from respondents. The researcher thanks the residents of Sutiakhali, Bijoynagar and South Charkalibari villages, particularly the respondents for their co-operation during the field study.
  4. 4. This study was financed by DAAD Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst German Academic Exchange Service
  5. 5. TABLE OF CONTENTS i TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS ………………………………………………………… LIST OF TABLES ………………………………………………………………. LIST OF FIGURES ………………………………………………………………… LIST OF BOXES…………………………………………………………………… ABBREVIATIONS.……………………………………………………………….. 1 INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………….. 1.1 Background of the Study……………………………………………….... 1.1.1 Women’s Marginalisation: The Global Picture.…..……………… 1.1.2 Women’s Marginalisation in South Asia: A brief Overview……... 1.1.3 Women’s Contribution to Rural Development: A Summary…...… 1.1.4 International Conventions and Treaties for Women’s Rights ……. 1.1.4.1 First World Conference on Women, 1975………………... 1.1.4.2 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), 1979……….. 1.1.4.3 Second World Conference on Women, 1980…………….. 1.1.4.4 Third World Conference on Women, 1985…………….… 1.1.4.5 Summit on the Economic Advancement of Rural Women, 1992………………………………………………………. 1.1.4.6 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 1994…………………………….……………….. 1.1.4.7 Fourth World Conference on Women, 1995……………... 1.1.4.8 World Food Summit, 1996……………………………….. 1.1.4.9 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 2000……….… 1.2 Statement of the Research Problem……………………………………… 1.3 Objectives and Hypotheses of the Study………………………………… 1.3.1 Objectives of the Study…………………………………….……… 1.3.2 Hypotheses of the Study …………………………………………... 1.4 Special Features of the Study…………………………………………….. 1.5 Limitations of the Study…………………………………………………. 1.6 Organisation of the Study………………….…………………………….. 2 SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW………… 2.1 Socio-economic Status of Women……………………………………….. 2.1.1 Education…………………………………….…………………… 2.1.1.1 Formal Education……………………………………….... 2.1.1.2 Non-Formal Education………………………………….... 2.1.2 Health, Nutrition and Sanitation ………………………………….. i viii xi xii xiii 1 1 1 2 5 7 7 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 10 11 13 13 13 14 15 16 19 19 19 20 22 24
  6. 6. TABLE OF CONTENTSii 2.1.2.1 General Health and Nutrition……………………………. 2.1.2.2 Reproductive and Sexual Health………………………… 2.1.2.3 Water and Sanitation…………………………………….. 2.1.2.4 Efforts Made by the Development Agencies in Promoting Women’s Health………………………….………………. 2.1.3 Employment……………………………………………….………. 2.1.4 Gender Linked Poverty……………………………………………. 2.2 Women in Power and Decision-making………………………………….. 2.2.1 Women in Public Services………………………………………… 2.2.2 Women in Parliament……………………………………………… 2.2.3 Women in Local Government……………………………….……. 2.3 Violence against Women…………………………………………………. 2.3.1 Rape and Sexual Harassment ………………………….………….. 2.3.2 Maiming by Acid………………………………………………….. 2.3.3 Dowry……………………………………………………………… 2.3.4 Domestic Violence………………………………………………… 2.3.5 Community Violence……………………………………………… 2.3.6 Abduction and Trafficking in Women and Children……………… 2.4 Cultural Barriers in Women’s life…….……..…………………………… 2.4.1 Gender Segregated Roles…………………………………………. 2.4.2 Mobility …………………………………………………………… 2.4.3 Purdah…………………………………………………………….. 2.4.4 Early Marriage…………………………………………………….. 2.4.5 Son preference …………………………………….……………… 2.5 Women’s Legal Rights: Myths and Realities…………………….….…... 2.6 Role of Development Agencies towards Women’s Advancement…………………………………………………………….. 2.7 Concluding Remarks…………………………………………………….. 3 THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT…………………………………………... 3.1 Gender Equality and Development: Beneath the Surface……………….. 3.1.1 Key Concepts Linked to the Notion of Gender…………………… 3.1.1.1 Sex versus Gender.....................................................…….. 3.1.1.2 Gender Relations…………………………………………. 3.1.1.3 Condition versus Position………………………………… 3.1.1.4 Gender Stereotypes……………………………………...... 3.1.1.5 Gender Discrimination………………………………….... 3.1.1.6 Gender Gap……………………………………………….. 3.1.1.7 Patriarchy…………………………………………………. 24 25 28 29 29 31 32 32 34 35 35 36 37 38 38 39 39 40 40 41 41 41 42 42 43 45 47 47 47 47 47 48 48 48 48 49
  7. 7. TABLE OF CONTENTS iii 3.1.1.8 Gender Awareness………………………………………... 3.1.1.9 Gender Equality versus Gender Equity ………………….. 3.1.1.10 Gender Roles: Multiple Roles of Women……………... 3.1.1.11 Gender Needs: Practical versus Strategic Needs…….... 3.1.2 Gender Focused Policy Approaches to Development ……………. 3.1.2.1 Women In Development (WID) Approach………………. 3.1.2.2 Gender And Development (GAD) Approach…………….. 3.1.2.3 Comparative Scenario of WID and GAD: The Shift from Women to Gender………………………………………… 3.2 Women’s Empowerment: Conceptual and Analytical Issues………….… 3.2.1 Women’s Empowerment: A Comprehensive View………………. 3.2.1.1 Concept of Power……………………………………….... 3.2.1.2 Conceptualising Women’s Empowerment……………….. 3.2.1.3 Features of Women’s Empowerment Process……………. 3.2.1.4 Dimensions of Women’s Empowerment……………….… 3.2.1.5 Levels of Women’s Empowerment………………………. 3.2.2 Conceptual Frameworks for Analysing Women’s Empowerment... 3.2.2.1 Kabeer’s Framework……………………………………... 3.2.2.2 Chen and Mahmud’s Framework………………………… 3.2.2.3 Longwe’s Hierarchical Framework………………………. 3.2.3 Strategies Suggested for Empowering Women: An Overview of Literature………………………………………………………….. 3.2.4 Measuring Women’s Empowerment…………………………….... 3.2.4.1 Methodological Principles in Measuring Women’s Empowerment…………………………………………….. 3.2.4.2 Measuring Women’s Empowerment: A Review of Previous Studies………………………………………….. 3.3 Conceptual Framework of the Study…………………………………….. 3.4 Concluding Remarks…………………………………………………….. 4 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY…………………………….. 4.1 Overview of Research Methodologies in Social Science Research……… 4.1.1 Qualitative versus Quantitative Approach………………………… 4.1.2 Mixed-Method Approach ………………………………………… 4.1.2.1 Strengths of Mixed-Method Approach…………………… 4.1.2.2 Limitations of Mixed-Method Approach ………………… 4.2 Methodological Design Chosen for the Study…..……………………….. 4.3 Methods Used for Data Collection………………………………………. 4.3.1 Qualitative Data Gathering Methods……………………………… 4.3.2 Quantitative Data Gathering Methods…………………………….. 49 49 49 50 51 51 52 53 54 54 54 55 56 56 57 58 58 58 59 60 61 61 62 63 66 67 67 67 69 70 70 71 73 73 74
  8. 8. TABLE OF CONTENTSiv 4.4 Study Area……………….………………………………………………. 4.4.1 Rationale for the Research Site.……………………………….….. 4.4.2 Basic Features of the Study Villages…………………….…………. 4.4.2.1 Sutiakhali as Modern Village…………………………….. 4.4.2.2 Bijoynagar as Semi-modern Village……………………… 4.4.2.3 South Charkalibari as Traditional Village………………… 4.5 Sampling Design and Survey Instruments………..………………….….. 4.5.1 Sampling Design………………………………...……………....... 4.5.2 Construction of Structured and Semi-structured Interview Schedules …………...……………..……………………………… 4.6 Procedures and Period of Data Collection……………………………….. 4.6.1 Focus Group Discussions…………………………………………. 4.6.2 Use of Participatory Tools…………………………………..…….. 4.6.3 The Survey……………………………………………....………... 4.6.4 Case Studies………………………………………………………. 4.6.5 Interviews with Key Informants…………………………………... 4.6.6 Direct observations………………………………………………... 4.7 Processing of the Primary Data ……………………………………….… 4.8 Secondary Data…………………………………………………………... 4.9 Validity, Reliability and Ethical Measures…………………………….… 4.9.1 Validity…………….…………………………………………....… 4.9.2 Reliability…………………………………………………………. 4.9.3 Ethical Considerations…………………………………………….. 4.10 Measurement of Variables………………….………………………….… 4.10.1 Constructs for Empowerment of Rural Women………………… 4.10.1.1 Economic Contribution to Household ………………… 4.10.1.2 Access to Resources...……………………………….… 4.10.1.3 Ownership of Assets………………………………....... 4.10.1.4 Participation in Household Decision-Making……….… 4.10.1.5 Perception of Gender Awareness………………........... 4.10.1.6 Capacity to Cope with Household Shocks…………….. 4.10.2 Explanatory Variables…………………………………………... 4.10.2.1 Conjugal Age…………....…………….………………. 4.10.2.2 Formal Education………………………………….…... 4.10.2.3 Non-formal Education…………………………….....… 4.10.2.4 Having Only Male Children…………..…………….…. 4.10.2.5 Spousal Alienation…………………………………….. 4.10.2.6 Media Exposure……………………………………….. 4.10.2.7 Spatial Mobility………………………………………... 4.10.2.8 Traditional Socio-cultural Practices……………......….. 75 75 77 78 79 79 80 80 82 82 82 82 83 83 83 84 84 84 84 85 86 87 87 87 88 88 88 89 89 90 91 91 91 91 91 91 92 92 92
  9. 9. TABLE OF CONTENTS v 4.10.3 Other Relevant Terms…………………………………………... 4.10.3.1 Status of Rural Women………………………………... 4.10.3.2 Gender Division of Labour……………………………. 4.10.3.3 Household Income…………………………………….. 4.10.3.4 Initiatives Taken by Rural Women to Increase Household Income……………………………………... 4.11 Development of Rural Women’s Cumulative Empowerment Index (CEI): Dependent Variable…………………………………………….… 4.12 Data Analysis Strategy………………………………………………….. 4.12.1Qualitative Data Analysis……………………………………….… 4.12.2Quantitative Data Analysis………………………………………... 4.12.2.1 Paired t-test………………………………....…………. 4.12.2.2 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)…………………….… 4.12.2.3 Spearman’s Rank Correlation…………………………. 4.12.2.4 Step-wise Multiple Linear Regression………………… 4.13 Concluding Remarks…………………………………………………….. 5 SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL MILIEU OF RURAL WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT: TRENDS AND PERCEPTIONS……………………….. 5.1 Background Characteristics of Respondents …………………….…….... 5.1.1 Profile of Rural Women’s Households……………………....…… 5.1.2 Education Profiles of Rural Spouses…………………………....… 5.1.2.1 Formal Education of Rural Spouses…………………….... 5.1.2.2 Non-formal Education of Rural Spouses…………….…… 5.1.3 Economic Profile of Rural Household ………………………….... 5.1.3.1 Homestead Area………………………………………….. 5.1.3.2 Family Farm Size……………………………………….... 5.1.3.3 Income of Rural Household………………………………. 5.1.3.4 Savings of Rural Household …………………………..…. 5.1.4 Rural Women’s Exposure to Media………………………....……. 5.1.5 Rural Women’s Spatial Mobility…………………………………. 5.1.6 Traditional Socio-cultural Practices Affecting Rural Women.….... 5.1.7 Rural Women’s Aspirations in life……………………………..… 5.2 Trends of Rural Women’s Empowerment in the Locality………………. 5.3 Community Leaders’ Perception of Rural Women’s Empowerment…… 5.4 Direct Observations……………………………………………………… 5.5 Concluding Remarks ……………………………………………………. 92 92 93 93 93 94 95 95 96 96 96 97 97 98 99 99 99 101 101 104 105 105 105 106 109 110 112 114 116 117 119 121 122
  10. 10. TABLE OF CONTENTSvi 6 ANALYSING RURAL WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT: DETERMINANTS AND CONSTRAINTS………………………………….. 6.1 Status of Rural Women………………………………………………….. 6.2 Gender Division of Labour…………………………………………….… 6.2.1 Gender Involvement in Productive Activities…………………….. 6.2.2 Gender Involvement in Reproductive activities…………………... 6.2.3 Gender Involvement in Community Managing Activities………... 6.2.4 Comparison of Rural Spouses’ Labour Profile: The Paired t-test Analysis…………………………………………………………… 6.3 Extent of Rural Women’s Empowerment………………...…………….... 6.3.1 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Economic Contribution to the Household………………………………………………….….. 6.3.1.1 Variability of Rural Women’s Economic Contribution to the Household…………………………………………….. 6.3.1.2 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Economic Contribution to the Household…………………………… 6.3.2 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Access to Resources…….... 6.3.2.1 Variability of Rural Women’s Access to Resources……... 6.3.2.2 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Access to Resources.. 6.3.3 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Asset Ownership………….. 6.3.3.1 Variability of Rural Women’s Asset Ownership……….… 6.3.3.2 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Asset Ownership…... 6.3.4 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Participation in Household Decision-making………………………………………………….. 6.3.4.1 Variability of Rural Women’s Participation in Household Decision-making…………………………………………. 6.3.4.2 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Participation in Household Decision-making…………………………….. 6.3.5 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Perception of Gender Awareness………….……………………………………………... 6.3.5.1 Variability of Rural Women’s Perception of Gender Awareness………………………………………………… 6.3.5.2 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Perception of Gender Awareness….…………………………………………….. 6.3.6 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Capacity to Cope with Household Shocks……………………………………………….... 6.3.6.1 Risks Encountered by Rural Women……………………... 6.3.6.2 Rural Women’s Household Coping Strategies…………… 6.3.6.3 Variability of Rural Women’s Coping Capacity to Household Shocks………………………………………... 123 123 126 127 128 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 139 140 140 142 143 144 149 150 151 156 158 159 159 161 167
  11. 11. TABLE OF CONTENTS vii 6.3.6.4 Factors Influencing the Capacity of Rural Women to Cope with Household Shocks……………………….……. 6.3.7 Current Status of Rural Women’s Empowerment………………… 6.3.7.1 Levels of Rural Women’s Empowerment...…………….... 6.3.7.2 Village-wise Standing of Rural Women’s Empowerment.. 6.3.7.3 Status of Rural Women’s Empowerment according to Household Income………………………………………... 6.3.8 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Cumulative Empowerment Index (CEI)……………………….……………………………..… 6.3.8.1 Spearman’s Rank Correlation Analysis…………………... 6.3.8.2 Multiple Linear Regression Analysis…………………….. 6.4 Problems Encountered by Rural Women in Achieving Empowerment…. 6.5 Concluding Remarks…………………………………………………….. 7 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS……………………………………………………………... 7.1 Summary and Conclusions of the Study……………………………….… 7.1.1 Demographic Profile of Rural Household ………………………... 7.1.2 Education and Economic Profiles of Rural Household…………… 7.1.3 Rural Women’s Social Exposure and Aspirations………………... 7.1.4 Rural Women and Social Vices…………………………………… 7.1.5 Perceived Social Status and Multiple Roles of Rural Women…..... 7.1.6 Rural Women’s Socio-economic Empowerment…………….…… 7.1.7 Rural Women’s Power in Household Decision-making………….. 7.1.8 Rural Women’s Psychological Empowerment………………….… 7.1.9 Rural Women’s Empowerment: A Summary………………….…. 7.1.10Factors Affecting Rural Women’s Empowerment………………... 7.1.11Trends and Perceptions of Rural Women’s Empowerment………. 7.2 Policy Implications…………...………………………………………….. 7.2.1 Consolidated Strategies for Promoting Women’s Empowerment... 7.2.2 Suggestions and Directions for Future Studies …………………... DEUTSCHE ZUSAMMENFASSUNG (SUMMARY IN GERMAN)………...... REFERENCES …………………………………………………………………... APPENDICES…………………………………………………………………… 169 170 170 171 172 172 172 174 178 182 185 185 185 185 186 186 186 187 187 188 188 188 189 189 189 196 199 205 221
  12. 12. TABLE OF CONTENTSviii LIST OF TABLES Table 1.0 Gender Related Development Indicators in South Asia, 2002… 3 Table 2.1 Number of Teachers and Students in Colleges and Universities of Bangladesh, 1997…………………………………………… 22 Table 2.2 Classified Labour Force Participation Rate in Bangladesh, 1995-96………………………………………………………… 30 Table 2.3 Incidence of Poverty by Sex of Head of Household in Bangladesh, 2000……………………………………………… 31 Table 2.4 Proportion of Seats Held by Women in National Parliament in Bangladesh, 1973-2001……………………………………….. 34 Table 2.5 Profile of Incidence of Violence against Women in Bangladesh, 1997-2004……………………………………….. 37 Table 3.1 Differences between Sex and Gender…………………………. 47 Table 3.2 Comparative Appraisal of Practical Gender Needs and Strategic Gender Needs……………………………………….. 51 Table 3.3 Differentiation between WID and GAD Approach……………. 53 Table 3.4 Forms of Power and its Practical Implications………………… 54 Table 3.5 Dimensions and Indicators of Women’s Empowerment in the Household Arena………………………………………………. 57 Table 3.6 Key Features of Chen and Mahmud’s Empowerment Framework…………………………………………………….. 59 Table 3.7 Review of Empirical Studies on Women’s Empowerment……. 62 Table 4.1 Comparative Features of Quantitative and Qualitative Research Approaches………………………………………….. 68 Table 4.2 Purposes of Application of Qualitative Tools on different Target Groups…………………………………………………. 73 Table 4.3 Major Criteria of the Study Villages…………………………... 76 Table 4.4 Validity Measures of the Research Instruments………………. 85 Table 4.5 Internal Consistency and Test-Retest Reliability of Rural Women’s Empowerment Constructs (n = 24)…………………. 86 Table 4.6 Rural Women’s Cumulative Empowerment Index Integrating both Quantitative and Qualitative Data…….. 95 Table 5.1 Percentage Distribution of Rural Women’s Household Profile, 2002-2003 (n = 156)………………………………………….. 100 Table 5.2 Paired Comparison between Rural Wives and their Husbands based on their Level of Formal Education, 2002-2003 (n=156) 102 Table 5.3 Pair-wise Distribution of Formal Educational Level of Rural Spouses, 2002-2003…………………………………………... 103 Table 5.4 Variation of Formal Educational Level of Rural Spouses according to Farm Households, 2002 –2003…………………. 103
  13. 13. TABLE OF CONTENTS ix Table 5.5 Pair-wise Distribution of Non-formal Educational level of Rural Spouses, 2002-2003…………………………………….. 104 Table 5.6 Distribution of Rural Households based on their Homestead area, 2002-2003……………………………………………….. 105 Table 5.7 Distribution of Rural Households based on their Family Farm Size, 2002-2003……………………………………………….. 106 Table 5.8 Annual Income of Rural Households, 2002…………………… 106 Table 5.9 Total Farm Income of Rural Households, 2002………………. 107 Table 5.10 Distribution of Rural Households based on their Total Income, 2002…………………………………………………………… 108 Table 5.11 Distribution of Rural Households based on Per Capita Income, 2002……………………………………………………………. 109 Table 5.12 Distribution of Rural Households according to their Savings Behaviour, 2002……………………………………………….. 109 Table 5.13 Savings Behaviour of Rural Households, 2002……………….. 110 Table 5.14 Exposure of Rural Women to Information Media, 2002-2003... 111 Table 5.15 Rural Women’s Empowerment from 1992 to 2002 as Revealed through Trend Analysis……………….……………………….. 118 Table 5.16 Expert Views of Community Leaders regarding Women’s Empowerment, 2002-2003……………………………………. 120 Table 6.1 Status of Rural Women in the Community as Perceived by Respondents (n = 156)…………………………………………. 124 Table 6.2 Social Status of Rural Women in Comparison to Men, 2002- 2003 (based on FGDs, n = 84)………………………………… 125 Table 6.3 Gender Involvement in Productive Activities, 2002-2003……. 127 Table 6.4 Gender Involvement in Reproductive Activities, 2002-2003…. 129 Table 6.5 Gender Involvement in Community Managing Activities, 2002-2003……………………………………………………… 130 Table 6.6 Paired Comparison of Labour Involvement in Reproductive, Productive and Community Managing Activities between Rural Wives and their Husbands, 2002-2003 (n = 156)………. 132 Table 6.7 Variation of Rural Women’s Economic Contribution according to Farm Households, 2002-2003………………………………. 134 Table 6.8 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Economic Contribution to the Household, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………………. 136 Table 6.9 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Access to Resources, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………………………………… 136 Table 6.10 Variation of Rural Women’s Access to Resources according to Farm Households, 2002-2003…………………………………. 139 Table 6.11 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Access to Resources, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………………………………… 140
  14. 14. TABLE OF CONTENTSx Table 6.12 Variation of Rural Women’s Asset Ownership (in ‘000’ Taka) according to Farm Households, 2002-2003…………………… 142 Table 6.13 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Asset Ownership, 2002- 2003 (n = 156)…………………………………………………. 144 Table 6.14 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Participation in Household Decision-making, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………… 145 Table 6.15 Rural Women’s Participation in Major Aspects of Household Decision-making, 2002-2003………………………………….. 146 Table 6.16 Rural Women’s and Men’s Dominance in Different Aspects of Household Decision-making, 2002-2003 (based on FGDs, n = 84)…………………………………………………………….. 147 Table 6.17 Variation of Rural Women’s Participation in Household Decision-making according to Farm Households, 2002-2003.. 149 Table 6.18 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Participation in Household Decision-making, 2002-2003 (n = 156)………….. 150 Table 6.19 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Perception of Gender Awareness, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………………….. 152 Table 6.20 Variation of Rural Women’s Perception of Gender Awareness according to Farm Households, 2002-2003…….…………….. 157 Table 6.21 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Perception of Gender Awareness, 2002-2003 (n = 156)……………………………. 158 Table 6.22 Types of Risky Events Experienced by Rural Women, 2002- 2003 (based on FGDs, n = 84)……………………………….. 160 Table 6.23 Nature and Extent of Coping Strategies Employed by Rural Women to Mitigate Household Shocks, 2002-2003 (n = 156).. 162 Table 6.24 Nature and Extent of Rural Women’s Initiatives to Increase Household Income, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………….. 167 Table 6.25 Variation of Rural Women’s Coping Capacity to Household Shocks according to Farm Households, 2002-2003………….. 168 Table 6.26 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Coping Capacity to Household Shocks (n = 156)…………………………………. 169 Table 6.27 Status of Rural Women’s Empowerment according to Village, 2002-2003…………………………………………………….. 171 Table 6.28 Status of Rural Women’s Empowerment according to Household Income, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………….. 172 Table 6.29 Factors Influencing Rural Women’s Cumulative Empowerment Index, 2002-2003 (n = 156)………………….. 173 Table 6.30 Influences of Socio-cultural Variables on Rural Women’s Empowerment (Step-wise Multiple Regression), 2002-2003... 175 Table 6.31 Constraints in Achieving Rural Women’s Greater Empowerment (n = 84)……….………………………………. 179
  15. 15. TABLE OF CONTENTS xi LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1.0 The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals………... 10 Figure 2.1 Gender Disparity in Adult Literacy in Bangladesh, 1980-2015……………………………………………………. 19 Figure 2.2 Gender Disparity in Urban and Rural Population in Bangladesh, 1974-2000……………………………………….. 20 Figure 2.3 Gender-wise Percentage of Teachers in Government Primary Schools in Bangladesh, 1990-2001…………………………… 21 Figure 2.4 Ratio of Girls to Boys in the Enrolment of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Educational Level in Bangladesh, 1990-2001…… 21 Figure 2.5 Gender Parity in Non-formal Education in terms of Enrolment in Bangladesh, 1991-95………………………………………... 23 Figure 2.6 Approximate Death Rates per 1000 Population in Bangladesh, 1998……………………………………………………………. 25 Figure 2.7 Approximate Death Rates per 1000 Population in Bangladesh, 1975-2015……………………………………………………… 25 Figure 2.8 Maternal Mortality Ratio per 100,000 Lives Birth in Bangladesh, 1995-2001………………………………………. 26 Figure 2.9 Estimated Total Fertility Rate per Woman in Bangladesh, 1995 to 2050…….…………………………………………….. 26 Figure 2.10 Estimated Number of Population in Bangladesh, 1960-2050…. 27 Figure 2.11 Contraceptive Prevalence Rate in Bangladesh, 1999-2000…… 27 Figure 2.12 Percentage of Population with Sustainable Access to Improved Water Source and Sanitation in Bangladesh, 2002……………. 28 Figure 2.13 Gender Inequality in Economic Activities in Bangladesh, 1995-2002……………………………………………………… 30 Figure 2.14 Average Monthly Income (Taka) per Household in Bangladesh, 2000……………………………………………… 32 Figure 2.15 Gender-wise Distribution of Public Sector and Government Employees by Service Categories in Bangladesh, 1997………. 33 Figure 2.16 Gender-wise Distribution of Class I Officers in the BCS Cadres, 1999…………………………………………………… 33 Figure 3.1 Longwe’s Hierarchical Empowerment Framework…………… 59 Figure 3.2 Conceptual Framework of Rural Women’s Empowerment Process Adopted in the Study…………………………………. 64 Figure 4.1 Mixed Methodological Framework for the Appraisal of Rural Women’s Empowerment………………………………………. 72 Figure 4.2 Sampling Design and Methods of the Study………………….. 81 Figure 5.1 Comparison between Rural Women and Men based on their Formal Educational Level, 2002-2003 (n = 156)……………… 102
  16. 16. TABLE OF CONTENTSxii Figure 5.2 Comparison between Rural Women and Men based on their Non-formal Educational Level, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………. 104 Figure 5.3 Distribution of Rural Women based on their Exposure to Media, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………………………... 111 Figure 5.4 Extent of Rural Women’s Spatial Mobility, 2002-2003………. 112 Figure 5.5 Distribution of Rural Women based on their Spatial Mobility, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………………………………… 113 Figure 5.6 Percentages of Rural Women Affected by Traditional Socio- cultural Practices, 2002-2003………………………………… 115 Figure 6.1 Distribution of Rural Women based on their Total Economic Contribution to Household, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………….. 133 Figure 6.2 Distribution of Rural Women based on their Access to Resources Index, 2002-2003 (n = 156)………………………... 139 Figure 6.3 Percentage Distribution of Rural Women based on their Ownership of Different Assets, 2002-2003……………………. 141 Figure 6.4 Distribution of Rural Women based on their Asset Ownership Index, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………….……………… 142 Figure 6.5 Distribution of Rural Women based on their Participation in Household Decision-making Index, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…... 148 Figure 6.6 Distribution of Rural Women based on their Perception Index, 2002-2003 (n = 156)…………………………………………… 156 Figure 6.7 Distribution of Rural Women based on their Coping Capacity Index, 2002-2003 (n = 156)……………………………………. 166 Figure 6.8 Distribution of Rural Women based on their Cumulative Empowerment Index, 2002-2003 (n= 156)……………………. 170 Figure 6.9 Cause-Effect Relationship of Different Socio-economic and Cultural Constraints Faced by Rural women (based on problem tree analysis, n = 84)…………………………………………... 181 Figure 7.0 Proposed Strategic Framework for Promoting Rural Women’s Empowerment ………………………………………………… 192 LIST OF BOXES Box 1.0 Seven Strategic Priorities of MDG 3………………………… 11 Box 2.1 Promotional Steps Undertaken to Enhance Female Education in Bangladesh………………………………………………….. 23 Box 2.2 Best Practices Adopted to Improve Maternal and Child Health in Bangladesh………………………………………………….. 29 Box 2.3 Steps Taken to Improve Women’s Employment and Income Status in Bangladesh…………………………………………... 32
  17. 17. TABLE OF CONTENTS xiii Box 2.4 Measures Undertaken to Combat Violence against Women in Bangladesh…………………………………………………….. 40 Box 3.1 WID Policy Approaches………………………………………. 52 Box 3.2 Main GAD Policy Approaches………………………………... 53 Box 3.3 Definitions of Women’s Empowerment…………………….… 55 Box 3.4 Features of Women’s Empowerment Process…………………. 56 Box 3.5 Strategies Suggested for Empowering Women……………….. 60 Box 5.1 Case Illustration of Spousal Age Difference, 2002-2003……... 99 Box 5.2 Case Illustrations of Media Exposure of Rural Women, 2002- 2003…………………………………………………………… 112 Box 5.3 Case Illustrations of Spatial Mobility of Rural Women, 2002- 2003…………………………………………………………… 114 Box 5.4 Case Illustrations of Rural Women Affected by Social Vices, 2002-2003……………………………………………………… 116 Box 5.5 Recorded Direct Observational Items, 2002-2003……………. 122 Box 6.1 Case Illustrations of Rural Women with Lower and Higher Social Status, 2002 - 2003……………………………………... 126 Box 6.2 Direct Observations of the Daily Activities of Rural Women, 2002-2003……………………………………………………… 130 Box 6.3 Case Illustrations of Rural Women’s Economic Contribution to the Household, 2002 - 2003………………………………… 135 Box 6.4 Case Illustrations of Rural Women’s Ownership of Assets, 2002 – 2003……………………………………………………. 143 Box 6.5 Case Illustrations of Rural Women’s Perception of Gender Awareness, 2002 - 2003…………………………………….…. 157 Box 6.6 Case Illustrations of Coping Strategies Employed by Rural Women in Farm Households, 2002 – 2003……………………. 168 ABBREVIATIONS ADB Asian Development Bank AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ANON. Anonymous ANOVA Analysis of Variance AR Access to Resources ASF Acid Survivors’ Foundation ASK Ain-o-Salish Kendro BAU Bangladesh Agricultural University BAUEC Bangladesh Agricultural University Extension Centre
  18. 18. TABLE OF CONTENTSxiv BBS Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics BCS Bangladesh Civil Service BDHS Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey BFRI Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute BINA Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture BINP Bangladesh Integrated Nutrition Project BMP Bangladesh Mohila Parishad BPFA Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action BRAC Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee CBO Community-Based Organisation CCHS Coping Capacity to Household Shocks CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women CEI Cumulative Empowerment Index CGE Commission on Gender Equality CIDA Canadian International Development Agency CORR Centre for Reproductive Rights CPEP Compulsory Primary Education Programme CPI Corruption Perception Index CPR Contraceptive Prevalence Rate CV Coefficient of Variation DAE Department of Agricultural Extension DAW Division for the Advancement of Women DFID Department for International Development DLS Department of Livestock Services DOF Department of Fisheries FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation FGD Focus Group Discussion FSSAP Female Secondary School Assistance Project GAD Gender And Development GDI Gender Development Index GDP Gross Domestic Product GEM Gender Empowerment Measure GO Government Organisation GOB Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  19. 19. TABLE OF CONTENTS xv HDI Human Development Index HFPP Health and Family Planning Programme HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus HNPSP Health, Nutrition and Population Service Programme HPI Human Poverty Index HSC Higher Secondary Certificate ICPD International Conference on Population and Development IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute ILO International Labour Organisation IMR Infant Mortality Rate INSTRAW International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women IPU Inter-Parliamentary Union LEP Law Enforcement Personnel LFS Labour Force Survey MDG Millennium Development Goal MHFW Ministry of Health and Family Welfare MMC Mass-line Media Centre MMR Maternal Mortality Rate MSW Ministry of Social Welfare MWCA Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs NCBP NGO Committee on Beijing Plus Five in Bangladesh NCRFW National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women NFE Non-Formal Education NGO Non-Government Organisation NRC Naripakka Research Cell PEDP Primary Education Development Programme PHDM Participation in Household Decision-Making PGA Perception on Gender Awareness PGN Practical Gender Need PLAGE Policy Leadership and Advocacy for Gender Equality PPP Purchasing Power Parity PRA Participatory Rural Appraisal PRB Population Reference Bureau
  20. 20. TABLE OF CONTENTSxvi PSC Public Service Commission PVO Private Voluntary Organisation RRA Rapid Rural Appraisal SAR South Asian Region SARRC South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SD Standard Deviation SGN Strategic Gender Need STW Shallow Tube Well TLM Total Literacy Movement TFR Total Fertility Rate UH Upazila Headquarters UGC University Grants Commission UN United Nations UP Union Parishad UNAIDS United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS UNDP United Nations Development Programme UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation UNFPA United Nations Population Fund UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund UNIFEM United Nations Development Fund for Women USAID United States Agency for International Development VAW Violence Against Women VGD Vulnerable Group Feeding WC Ward Commissioners WFP World Food Programme WHO World Health Organisation WID Women In Development WO Women’s organisation
  21. 21. INTRODUCTION 1 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter sets out to explore some of the concerns related to on-going marginalisation of women worldwide with a special emphasis on South Asia. The contribution of women to rural development and negligence of the male dominated society in recognising it are also highlighted. The active role of the international society in encouraging women’s advancement is outlined through a discussion of the international conventions and treaties and their agenda. In the milieu of this discourse, the specific problem statement of the investigation with its objectives and hypotheses as well as special features and limitations are presented. 1.1 Background of the Study 1.1.1 Women’s Marginalisation: The Global Picture Although women constitute about one half of the world’s population, they are still the poorest among the world’s 1.5 billion poor people. The fact that two thirds of those living on less than one dollar per day are women (UNITED NATIONS, 2001) is a clear indication of the magnitude of this issue. When different dimensions of the poverty issue are considered, the incidence of income-poverty is the most important, as a substantial gap exists between women and men. It has been reported that even though women work 67 percent of the world’s earnings hours (REEVES & BADEN, 2000), female earnings are around 70-80 percent those of male earnings in both developed and developing countries (KABEER, 2003). Nevertheless, this does not imply that women’s situations are better in other dimensions like education, nutrition or health. Obviously, income-poverty is linked to their unpaid work, as more than 60 percent of the women work in family enterprises without pay (UNITED NATIONS, 2005a), which in turn leads to lower educational levels and eventually to the downward spiral of poverty. Data on the spatial distribution of illiteracy indicates that out of 876 million illiterate people worldwide, two-thirds are women; many of them living in the rural areas of Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia (UNDP, 2003). In agriculture-based countries in general, women toil in producing food but they are discriminated against in consumption of it. In many parts of South Asia, for example, men often consume twice as many calories as women despite the fact of women’s heavy workload (WHO, 1997). Only 20-40 percent of all women of childbearing age in the developing world receive the minimum caloric requirement (2,200 calories) for a healthy and productive life (UNIFEM, 1995).
  22. 22. INTRODUCTION2 Exacerbating these conditions, women continue to have systematically poorer command over a range of productive resources including land, education, training, credit and information along with legal and property rights in relation to those of men. As a result of weak land tenure rights, women’s access to inputs like improved seed, fertiliser as well as credit and extension services is limited (BROWN et al., 1995). It is estimated that women in Africa receive less than one percent of the total credit available to agriculture. This is largely due to women’s low ownership of land for use as collateral (UNDP, 1995). Women’s lack of participation in socio-economic and political decision-making is also critical despite the 30 percent quota set by the United Nations. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) statistics, the percentage of women in parliaments around the world was 12.7 percent in 1998, with the highest percentage (37.6%) existing in the Nordic countries, followed by the Americas (15.5%), Asia (13.4%), Sub-Saharan Africa (11.6%) and the lowest (3.3%) in the Arab states (KARAM, 1999). In view of the facts stated above, there is an urgent need to provide an environment conducive for the fulfilment of women’s potential in order to reduce their level of vulnerability. It is a fact that the development of any nation can hardly be achieved while half of its population is greatly underestimated. For development in any nation, policies must encompass strategies that empower women to rise above poverty. This will consequently lead to better families and hence, a better society. 1.1.2 Women’s Marginalisation in South Asia: A brief Overview Fundamental opportunities for education, health care and nutritious food are partially or completely denied to women in the South Asian Region (SAR). Women have little opportunity to participate in intra-household and societal decision-making processes due to cultural and religious norms, discriminatory laws as well as social structures that force women and children to be dependent on men. South Asia has some of the world’s highest rates of maternal deaths, unsafe abortions, child marriages, human trafficking and sexual violence (CORR, 2004). It is estimated that over the time 60 million girls in South Asia have either died or become maimed through sex-selective abortion, infanticide and negligence (UNFPA, 2003). This area hosts 44 percent illiterate women (EBERLEE, 2001). Across the region, violence against women (VAW) is prevalent at household, community, society and state levels because of the social customs and attitudes supporting such atrocities (OXFAM, 2004). It is a great concern that Bangladesh ranks second in the world in VAW, with 47 percent of the women being assaulted
  23. 23. INTRODUCTION 3 by men. In the case of atrocities against women, Papua New Guinea tops with 67 percent and India occupies third position with 40 percent (MAHMOOD, 2004). Trafficking of women and girls is also rampant in this region despite efforts taken by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SARRC) in 2002 to combat it. Moreover, an increasing rate of HIV/AIDS infection has emerged as a major development challenge in the region particularly in Pakistan, Nepal and India. Thus, gender disparities in the SAR are severe compared to other parts of the world (WORLD BANK, 2001). Table 1.0 shows that the South Asian countries possess lower ranks in the world considering major socio-economic indicators related to gender equality. Table 1.0: Gender Related Development Indicators in South Asia, 2002 Lifeexpectancy (years) Adultliteracy rate(%) Country HDIrank(177countries) GDIrank(144countries) GEMrank(78countries) HP-1rank(95countries) GDPpercapitavalue (PPPUS$) Male Female Male Female Bangladesh 138 (0.509) 110 (0.499) 76 (0.218) 72 (42.2%) 1,700 60.7 61.5 50.3 31.4 India 127 (0.595) 103 (0.572) - 48 (31.4%) 2,670 63.1 64.4 69.0 46.4 Pakistan 142 (0.497) 120 (0.471) 64 (0.416) 71 (41.9%) 1,940 61.0 60.7 53.4 28.5 Nepal 140 (0.504) 116 (0.484) - 69 (41.2%) 1,370 59.9 59.4 61.6 26.4 Bhutan 134 (0.536) - - - 1,969 61.8 64.3 61.0 34.0 Maldives 84 (0.752) - - 17 (11.4%) 4,798 67.7 66.8 97.3 97.2 Sri Lanka 96 (0.740) 73 (0.738) 74 (0.276) 36 (18.2%) 3,570 69.8 75.8 94.7 89.6 Source: UNDP, 2004 Figures in the parentheses indicate index values of the indicators Note: ‘-’ means data were not available
  24. 24. INTRODUCTION4 Bangladesh is ranked 138th in the ‘UNDP Human Development Report 2004’, with a Human Development Index (HDI)1 value of 0.509. The Maldives rank 84th , with a value of 0.752. In the SAR, the Maldives rank first with the highest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita (PPP US$ 4,798) as well as male and female literacy rates. Conversely, Nepal is the least performer in this region with the rank of 140 in HDI. It also has the lowest GDP per capita (PPP US$ 1,370) as well as life expectancy and female literacy rate (Table 1.0). The Gender Development Index (GDI)2 value for Bangladesh is 0.499 and it is ranked 110 in the world. Sri Lanka ranks 73 in the world, with a value of 0.738 but performs the best in the SAR, as she claims the highest life expectancy and adult literacy rates for both male and female (Table 1.0). Women’s political representation is very poor in South Asia as a whole, as only 7 percent of the South Asian parliamentarians are women (EBERLEE, 2001). The Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM)3 reveals that Bangladesh ranks 76th , with a value of 0.218. In Bangladesh, women hold two percent of the parliamentary seats and make up eight percent of the administrators and managers and 25 percent of the professional and technical workers (UNDP, 2004). Pakistan performs the best in terms of GEM in the SAR. In the world, it ranks 64th , with a value of 0.416 (Table 1.0). The human poverty index (HPI)4 for Bangladesh shows that it has the worst performance in the SAR - the most deprived in multiple dimensions of poverty. It 1 The HDI measures the average progress of a country in human development focusing on three dimensions: life expectancy, education and standard of living (UNDP, 2004). 2 The GDI measures achievements in the same basic dimensions as in HDI, but takes egalitarian perspectives in achievements of women and men into account. The GDI methodology imposes a penalty for inequality. The greater the gender disparity in basic human development, the lower is a country’s GDI relative to HDI. Norway, Sweden and Australia occupies rank 1, 2 and 3 in the world, respectively in both HDI and GDI while Sierra Leone ranks the lowest position among 177 countries in HDI and Niger occupies the last position (144th ) in GDI (UNDP, 2004). 3 The GEM is a composite index measuring gender inequality in three basic dimensions of empowerment - economic participation and decision-making, political participation and decision-making and power over economic resources. The index values of GEM range from 0 to 1 - the lower the value, the greater the gender disparity. Women in Europe are highly empowered as Norway, Sweden and Denmark occupies the top ranks in GEM while Saudi Arabia and Yemen are ranked 77th and 78th , respectively at the bottom levels (UNDP, 2004). 4 The HPI focuses on the proportion of people below a threshold level in basic dimensions of human development - living a long and healthy life, having access to education and a decent standard of living. The HPI-1 measures human poverty in developing countries. Barbados claims the lowest poverty while Burkina Faso is the highest according to HPI-1 measure (UNDP, 2004).
  25. 25. INTRODUCTION 5 ranks 72nd , with a HPI value of 42.2 percent. The Maldives, on the other hand, the best performer in the SAR, ranks 17th in the world, with a HPI value of 11.4 percent. It is worthy to mention that the SAR has the largest number of people (44% of the world’s poor or approximately 522 million) who are living on an income of less than one dollar per day (SETH, 2003). Another disturbing fact is the high level of ‘corruption’ in the South Asian countries. According to a survey by ‘Transparency International’ (a Berlin based organisation), law enforcement is generally perceived to be the most corrupted sector in this region. The magnitude of corruption at all levels of society perpetuates poverty, as economic systems function inefficiently due to unfavourable conditions. Bangladesh is the most corrupted country in the world. Since 2001, it has a corruption perception index (CPI)5 of less than 2.0 (TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL, 2004). Therefore, women in South Asia are becoming an extremely vulnerable group due to the high levels of illiteracy, low ownership of assets (as inheritance laws are often male oriented), less opportunities to work outside the home, limited physical movement, low social status and socially constructed dependency on male relatives (ARIYABANDU, 2000). 1.1.3 Women’s Contribution to Rural Development: A Summary Women are the major agricultural producers and natural resource managers, responsible for half of the world’s food production (FAO, 1998), ensuring food security and nutritional status of their households (BROWN et al., 1995). In developing countries, they produce more than 55 percent of the food grown and constitute 67 percent of the agricultural labour force (UNITED NATIONS, 1997). Their efforts account for food production to the scale of 80-90 percent in Sub- Saharan Africa; 50-60 percent in Asia; 45 percent in the Caribbean and over 30 percent in Latin America (UNFPA, 1996). In the Pacific region, unlike in the other regions mentioned, women play a dominant role in production of labour-intensive cash crops, such as palm oil, vanilla and cocoa. It is, however, difficult to draw a clear line between cash crops and food crops in terms of involvement of women, as their contribution to production of rice, tea, rubber and fruit are significant in both South and Southeast Asia (FAO, 1998). 5 The CPI defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain and measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among a country’s public officials and politicians. The scores range from 10 (squeaky clean) to zero (highly corrupt). The world’s least corrupt country is Finland and its most corrupt countries are Bangladesh and Haiti in 2004.
  26. 26. INTRODUCTION6 Women toil for long hours in accomplishing such activities like sowing, transplanting, fertilising, weeding, pest control, harvesting, threshing and winnowing, cleaning, sorting, bagging, storage and food processing. It is estimated that on average, women spend 10 hours a day performing various household and farming chores (FAO, 1995). In addition to staple food production in the fields, women perform the bulk of household chores to ensure the smooth functioning of their households. For example, women spend up to five hours a day collecting fuel wood to meet the energy needs of the family. In underdeveloped and developing regions of the world, they may spend a similar amount of time in fetching water and preparing food (BROWN et al., 1995). Besides this, they grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, spices and medicinal plants in their home gardens in order to supply essential nutrients for the family and meet up food deficiency during the lean seasons. Rural women play an active role in biodiversity conservation and environmental protection as they rely more on natural resources. They are the keepers of traditional knowledge and preservers of local species (FAO, 1998). Women’s role in livestock and poultry production is commendable, as they are involved in activities like feeding and watering livestock, fodder collection, cleaning stables, caring for the sick, pregnant and lactating animals, milking, collecting of dung to meet fuel and manure needs (FAO, 1995). Women in South Asia shoulder the responsibility of looking after their livestock along with other farming responsibilities. For example, 60-80 percent of the livestock management is undertaken by women in Pakistan while in Nepal, women are responsible for fodder collection (FAO, 1998). Although their contribution is less substantial in fisheries compared to crop and livestock production, women are engaged in a wide range of activities in the fisheries sector, particularly in the processing activities. In many parts of the world, women are involved in marketing fish as well as weaving fishing nets. In addition to farm activities, rural women contribute considerably to household income through non-farm activities. They are found to be successful in small businesses and self-employment activities like sewing, embroidery, weaving and knitting, cheese-making, processing of fruit and vegetables and medicinal plants, bee-keeping, sericulture, basketry, stone quarrying and polishing, moulding plastic products etc. These roles as well as their nursing, caring and reproductive responsibilities in the household are undervalued or unrecognised economically, which result in under
  27. 27. INTRODUCTION 7 representation of the efforts of women in the nation’s or world’s economy. It is disheartening that in spite of the vital role played by rural women in agriculture and rural development, they remain as the most disadvantaged in the society. This calls for a thorough policy change and concerted efforts from the international as well as domestic societies to improve the situation of women. 1.1.4 International Conventions and Treaties for Women’s Rights The United Nations (UN) has been at the centre of a growing global movement for women’s privileges by adopting international laws and treaties on women’s rights since October 1945, when the UN was formally set up. The UN established the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) in 1946, which advocates for the improvement of the status of women of the world and for their equality to men. Some of the important treaties in the past include: the Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952), the Convention on the Nationality of Married Women (1957) and the Convention on the Consent to Marriage (1962). The UN declared 1975-1985 a Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace to stimulate public awareness of women’s issues and take up plans of action to improve the status of women. The General Assembly of the UN identified three key objectives in this regard: full gender equality and the elimination of gender discrimination; integration and full participation of women in development; and increased contribution by women in the strengthening of world peace (UNITED NATIONS, 2000). Some important features of the major world conferences on women, convened by the UN and other agencies, are briefly reviewed below in a chronological order: 1.1.4.1 First World Conference on Women, 1975 The first world conference was convened in Mexico City to coincide with the 1975 International Women’s Year for the purpose of focusing international attention on the need to develop future oriented goals, effective strategies and plans of action for the advancement of women. In this Conference, a World Plan of Action, a document that offered guidelines for governments and the international community to follow for the next ten years in pursuit of the three abovementioned key objectives set by the General Assembly was adopted. This Conference led to the establishment of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in 1976 to provide the institutional framework for research, training and operational activities in the area of women and development.
  28. 28. INTRODUCTION8 1.1.4.2 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), 1979 Women’s issues were further strengthened in 1979 by adopting the CEDAW by the General Assembly of the UN. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, the CEDAW is often described as an international bill of rights for women; one of the most powerful instruments for women’s equality defines the discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. It supports the full development and advancement of women in all spheres - political, educational, employment, health care, marriage and family relation, economic, social and legal. It also calls for the modification of social and cultural patterns of conduct in order to eliminate prejudices, customs and all other practices based on the idea of inferiority or superiority of both sexes (UNITED NATIONS, 1995a). 1.1.4.3 Second World Conference on Women, 1980 In July 1980, the second World Conference on Women was convened in Copenhagen, Denmark to review and appraise the 1975 World Plan of Action. Despite the progress made, this conference recognised that the disparities between rights secured and women’s ability to exercise these rights were widening. To address these concerns, the Copenhagen Programme of Action called for stronger national measures to ensure women’s ownership and control of property as well as improvements in women’s rights to inheritance, child custody and loss of nationality and urged an end to stereotyped attitudes towards women (UNITED NATIONS, 2000). 1.1.4.4 Third World Conference on Women, 1985 In 1985, the UN convened a third conference on women in Nairobi, Kenya to evaluate the achievements made over the decade. The Strategies for the Advancement of Women until the Year 2000 were agreed upon. A consensus was also reached, based on the objectives laid out for the Decade for Women, in order to provide a framework for action that would promote greater equality and opportunity for women. 1.1.4.5 Summit on the Economic Advancement of Rural Women, 1992 Recognising rural women as full partners in the development process, the Summit on the Economic Advancement of Rural Women took place in Geneva, Switzerland in February 1992. It was convened by the International Fund for
  29. 29. INTRODUCTION 9 Agricultural Development (IFAD). The representatives of the heads of State/Government were urged to work for the achievement of the goals endorsed in the Geneva Declaration for rural women paying special attention to both their practical and strategic needs, such as integrating the concerns of rural women into national development policies and programmes, increasing rural women’s participation in the decision-making process, enhancing their accessibility to productive resources and improving their human resources, particularly through health and literacy programmes (UNITED NATIONS, 1992). 1.1.4.6 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 1994 The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), convened under the auspices of the United Nations, took place in Cairo, Egypt in September 1994. The central elements of the conference were reproductive and sexual health, the rights of women, free choice, gender equality and the empowerment of women. These were identified as the keys to smaller families and declining population growth (ICPD, 1994). 1.1.3.7 Fourth World Conference on Women, 1995 The Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in September 1995 was the largest and most influential of all the World Conferences on Women. Its main objectives were equality, development and peace. Nearly 184 government delegations and 2,500 NGOs made significant commitments to secure women’s human rights and to eliminate discrimination and violence from women’s public and private lives. The outcome of the Conference ‘the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA)’ is an agenda for women’s empowerment and gender equality focusing on 12 critical areas of concern, out of which poverty, education and training, health, decision-making and legal reforms are the major ones. The summit aimed at achieving the ultimate goal of eliminating all forms of discrimination against women in both public and private life (UNITED NATIONS, 1997). In recognition of the crucial role of women in food production and food security, the idea of celebrating the World Rural Women’s Day on 15 October (the day before the World Food Day) each year was also emerged from the Beijing Conference. 1.1.3.8 World Food Summit, 1996 The World Food Summit, organised by the FAO, was held in Rome, Italy in November 1996. This summit acknowledged the fundamental contribution of
  30. 30. INTRODUCTION10 women, particularly in developing countries, to food security. The delegates of the summit agreed to ensure the empowerment of rural women by providing equal gender opportunities. 1.1.3.9 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 2000 In September 2000, 189 governments of both developed and developing countries jointly agreed with a set of Millennium Declarations, which are known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to tackle a range of global problems. They pledged to meet these goals, which mainly outline income poverty, human development, gender equality, environmental sustainability and global partnership by the year 2015 (Figure 1.0). Figure 1.0: The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals Source: KABBER (2003) The Declaration recognises the need to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women (Goal 3) as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable. The MDGs are intended to advance progress on some of the 12 critical areas identified by the The Millennium Development Goals Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women Goal 4: Reduce child mortality Goal 5: Improve maternal health Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
  31. 31. INTRODUCTION 11 Beijing Platform for Action and also support the goals of the CEDAW and the other international conventions and treaties that guarantee the rights of women and girls (WORLD BANK, 2003). The UN Millennium Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality, which was commissioned by the UN Secretary General in 2002 to develop a practical plan of action for enabling developing countries to meet the MDGs, has outlined seven interdependent strategic priorities with regard to Goal 3 (Box 1.0) that can be applied in any setting in order to alter the historical legacy of disadvantages against women by taking necessary action. Box 1.0: Seven Strategic Priorities of MDG 3 - Strengthen opportunities for post-primary education for girls while simultaneously meeting commitments to universal primary education - Guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights - Invest in infrastructure to reduce women and girls’ time burdens - Guarantee women and girls’ property and inheritance rights - Eliminate gender inequality in employment by decreasing women’s reliance on informal employment, closing gender gaps in earnings and reducing occupational segregation - Increase women’s share of seats in national parliaments and local governmental bodies - Combat violence against girls and women Source: Adapted from GROWN et al. (2005) The year 2005 marks the 30th anniversary of the First World Conference on Women held in 1975. It is the 10th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 5th anniversary of the MDGs. 1.2 Statement of the Research Problem The empowerment of women is an essential precondition for the elimination of world poverty and the upholding of human rights (DFID, 2000), in particular at the individual level, as it helps to build a base for social change. Equality for women in Bangladesh is limited only to their share in population6 . Their status has been ranked the lowest in the world on the basis of twenty indicators related to health, marriage, children, education, employment and social equality (NCBP, 2000). Historically they are socially oppressed, legally ignored, politically exploited and technologically deprived and are subordinated as a production unit for bearing and rearing children (AHMAD, 2001). It is a well-established fact that in a patriarchal society like Bangladesh, women are ascribed as being of lower status 6 Female population in Bangladesh constitutes 74.4 million (PRB, 2005), which represents approximately 48.6% of the total population of 149.7 million. About 88% of the total population belongs to Islam religion and 76% live in rural areas (CIDA, 2005).
  32. 32. INTRODUCTION12 compared to men. Men hold the sovereign power to control households and society as a whole while women are often secluded in their homes (BALK, 1997). About 80% of the women live in rural areas of Bangladesh (BBS, 2001), where majority of them play a major role in the following areas: (a) seed production and management and in conservation of biological diversity, (b) energy management, (c) crop/livestock/fish management, (d) post-harvest management including the utilisation of forest products, (e) management of home-garden and (f) family management (ANON., 1995). Even though the economic contribution of rural women is substantial, it is largely unacknowledged. In addition to their productive work, the traditional division of labour gives women the primary responsibility for such domestic chores as cleaning, cooking, childcare, fetching water and so on. Women’s limited access to markets, economic services, education, health care and politics leads to a lower well-being of the family that retards the developmental goals of the state and traumatise women. It is expected that the participation of rural women in the development process could contribute significantly to a balanced socio-economic growth and development of the country. Unfortunately, existing societal opportunity structures have hindered their participation in the mainstream process of development. To fulfil their expected role adequately, they need to be empowered in terms of information, knowledge and skills, access to resources and through the influence of mass media to have a positive view of themselves. Thus, rural women should not be seen in isolation or be an invisible entity anymore. Endeavours by the intervening agencies to support women to fight against inequality and injustice in the traditional society must be placed in the social and economic framework in order to attain sustainable development. Hence, this research focuses on the situation of rural women, examines their level of empowerment and the persisting constraints challenging rural women’s progress in order to formulate suitable strategic measures for their advancement. The following research questions on empowerment of rural women in Bangladesh were framed: (1) What do the rural women think about their present status in the household as well as the community? (2) How well are rural women represented in the gender division of labour in the household? (3) What factors influence and determine the nature and extent of rural women’s empowerment?
  33. 33. INTRODUCTION 13 (4) What are the problems hindering rural women’s empowerment? and (5) How can a viable strategy for promoting the empowerment status of rural women be developed? 1.3 Objectives and Hypotheses of the Study 1.3.1 Objectives of the Study In view of the aforesaid queries, the following objectives were formulated: (1) To assess the perceived status of rural women; (2) To analyse the gender division of labour at household level; (3) To analyse and determine the nature and extent of rural women’s empowerment and factors influencing it; (4) To identify existing socio-economic and cultural constraints hindering rural women’s empowerment; and (5) To develop a viable strategic framework for promoting the status of rural women’s empowerment. 1.3.2 Hypotheses of the Study Generally hypothesis means an assumption or some supposition to be proved or disproved. Hypotheses are divided into two main categories: 1) research hypotheses (H1) and 2) null hypotheses (H0). An investigator first formulates research hypotheses to find out anticipated relationships between variables. On the contrary, it becomes necessary for a researcher to formulate null hypotheses while performing any statistical test. Hence, taking the research objectives into account, the following hypotheses were drawn and tested by suitable statistical tools: (1) Rural women are more involved in reproductive activities than in productive and community managing activities compared to their husbands. a) Rural women are more involved in reproductive activities than their husbands (Ha1). The null hypothesis (Ho1) is µdifference = 0 i.e. there is no mean difference between rural wives and husbands’ involvement in reproductive activities.
  34. 34. INTRODUCTION14 b) Rural women are less involved in productive activities than their husbands (Ha2). The null hypothesis (Ho2) is µdifference = 0 i.e. there is no mean difference between rural wives and husbands’ involvement in productive activities. c) Rural women are less involved in community managing activities than their husbands (Ha3). The null hypothesis (Ho3) is µdifference = 0 i.e. there is no mean difference between rural wives and husbands’ involvement in community managing activities. (2) Education, son preference, media exposure and spatial mobility influence rural women’s empowerment positively while spousal alienation influences it negatively (Ha). The null hypothesis (Ho) is that socio-cultural factors do not have any influence on rural women’s empowerment. (3) The empowerment of rural women differs with developmental status of the villages (Ha). The null hypothesis (Ho) is µ = 0 i.e. there is no significant difference of rural women’s empowerment level based on developmental status of the villages. (4) The empowerment of rural women varies with income level of the household (Ha). The null hypothesis (Ho) is µ = 0 i.e. there is no significant difference of rural women’s empowerment level based on the household income. (5) Traditional socio-cultural practices curb rural women’s empowerment. 1.3 Special Features of the Study The present study can claim significance in the context of Bangladesh, as well as elsewhere, as it is an attempt to highlight the marginalisation of rural women at household level, which is not adequately addressed in literature. It intends to alter the policy perspectives based on the prevalent notions that the backward rural women are unable to get benefit from the existing set of socio-economic and political arrangements unless intervened by the developmental agencies. Some of the significant features related to methodology and implication are noted below: • Empowerment has been measured directly in this study, not as an outcome indicator (e.g. micro-credit reduces fertility), which has been the way most previous studies were conducted. • This study includes the psychological dimension of empowerment to strengthen the intrinsic power of women, which has rarely been operationalised in earlier empirical studies. This may ultimately result in
  35. 35. INTRODUCTION 15 increased accommodation of women’s needs, less conflicts with husband’s career and greater interaction with other family members. Consequently, it may offer supportive policies that might create more cooperative family and work responsibilities. • A mixed-method research design has been applied in this study, combining both qualitative and quantitative data, covering a wide range of indicators, scales and measures of validation intended to increase the understanding of the multidimensional concept of empowerment. • The findings of the research may prove helpful at policy and field levels for both Governmental (GOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). In particular, the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MWCA), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW) and the Ministry of Social Welfare (MSW) will benefit from formulation of effective strategies by the planners and policy-makers for implementing gender-specific programmes to promote the advancement of rural women. • More notably, the research findings may help the extension workers of the Bangladesh Agricultural University Extension Centre (BAUEC) in improving their action plan and exposure to the field of gender awareness, dissemination of knowledge and technology among the target groups in the project areas. 1.4 Limitations of the Study Due to the lack of previous empirical studies in the area of rural women’s empowerment at micro level, a few limitations have been identified in relation to this research, especially in methodology. They are as follows: • This study is an intensive work on three villages of Mymensingh district in Bangladesh. It may not be representative of the whole country as empowerment is context-specific. Besides, Bangladesh society is very diversified and divided into many sub-areas and segments. In order to have a representative sample, more units have to be picked up. But in view of the available time and resources, only four categories of farm households were considered. • Several methods, scales and statistical tests have been utilised in order to measure women’s empowerment over a relatively short period of time. Although these methods and measurements have received a great deal of
  36. 36. INTRODUCTION16 interest, there is still much debate amongst researchers as to how empowerment can be measured effectively. • The analysis of the study is based on cross-sectional data; it may not reveal the dynamic process of empowerment that could be measured over time. To explore relationships, nine characteristics (including conjugal age, formal education, husbands’ formal education, non-formal education, having only male children, spousal alienation, media exposure, spatial mobility and traditional socio-cultural practices) of the rural women and their husbands were selected. • A large sample is more representative and provides more accurate information. Due to limitations of time and other resources, it was not possible to work with a big sample and only 156 rural women were selected for the study from a population of 2896 farm families. • The conceptual framework of the study stresses socio-economic interventions paying special attention to the features of the locality. It may not be applicable in all other areas. • Some figures and boxes were self-explanatory and used for illustrative purposes. Their interpretations were not provided in the same extent like tables reporting empirical findings and their possible explanations. 1.5 Organisation of the Study This study is structured in seven major chapters followed by the reference section. At the end, an appendix section includes further information on some specific issues used for the study. A brief outline of different chapters is as follows: • Chapter 1 contains background information on women’s marginalisation, women contribution to rural development, followed by international conventions and treaties to upgrade the status of women. The statement of the research problem investigated with its objectives, hypotheses, special features and limitations are described in detail. • Chapter 2 gives an overview of the extent of gender discrimination in fields of education, health, employment, income, decision-making power as well as lower status of women in Bangladesh as expressed in poverty, violence, cultural barriers, discriminatory laws and their consequences. It also looks at the various programmes and their achievements as well as the role of different development organisations in promotion of women’s status.
  37. 37. INTRODUCTION 17 • Chapter 3 is devoted to explaining theoretical underpinnings of gender and development. It provides the basic concepts and approaches that are necessary to understanding gender issues and portrays the gradual evolution in thinking on gender equality and development. It also attempts to review the methodological approaches related to women’s empowerment. Based on theories and empirical work available in literature, this chapter finally sketches out a framework to conceptualise the interrelationship between different dimensions of women’s empowerment at household level, factors influencing it and pathways of interventions. • Chapter 4 is concerned with methodological approach of the study, sampling design and survey instruments, data collection methods and procedures, description of study area, measurement techniques of variables and data processing and analyses. • Chapter 5 deals with empirical analyses and discussion of rural women’s personal, socio-economic and cultural characteristics supported with case studies. It also focuses on perception of community leaders on women’s empowerment followed by direct observations by the researcher. • Chapter 6 analyses and describes status of rural women in the community and gender division of labour at household level. Six constructs of rural women’s empowerment and their associated factors are presented. In addition, case studies of particular respondents are used for detailed information. This chapter concludes with a discussion on various constraints that affect the level of women’s empowerment. • Chapter 7, the final chapter, provides summary and conclusions based on empirical findings and discussions. This chapter also offers a range of suggestions to the government of Bangladesh in particular and to developing countries in general for formulating an inclusive and equitable strategy for rural women’s empowerment. It also furnishes some strategic measures that can be taken in order to improve women’s empowerment levels in the locality and finally, charts out the future research possibilities.
  38. 38. SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW 19 2 SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW The socio-economic status of women in Bangladesh with a special emphasis to education, health, nutrition, sanitation, employment and poverty is discussed in this chapter followed by women’s participation in power and decision-making for national development. Different forms of violence against women are described and the traditional cultural practices affecting women’s life are outlined. This is followed by an exposition of women’s legal rights in theory and practice as well as the mediating role of the development institutions with regard to women’s development. 2.1 Socio-economic Status of Women 2.1.1 Education In spite of the government’s policy to eliminate illiteracy from Bangladesh, a large mass of the population remains illiterate even today. The adult literacy rate7 for 2002 was 41.1 percent, with 50.3 percent of the male population and 31.4 percent female being literate (UNDP, 2004). According to UNESCO (2003) statistics, adult literacy rates have been increasing over the last two decades in Bangladesh, even though there is a distinct gender gap in literacy. Moreover, the UNESCO’s analysis shows that the gender gap will remain constant even up to 2015 (Figure 2.1). 40 42 44.3 46.8 49.4 51.7 53.6 55.7 38.335.633.130.2 26.9 23.720.4 17.2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 Year Literacyrate(%) Male Female Figure 2.1: Gender Disparity in Adult Literacy in Bangladesh, 1980-2015 Source: UNESCO (2003) 7 Refers to the percentage of literate population of age 15 years and over to the population of the same age (BHATTACHARJEE, 2003)
  39. 39. SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW20 It is a matter of concern that about 38 percent of the families are still illiterate in the country. This is aggravated by the fact that there exists a disparity between urban and rural populations. In rural areas, 37.3% are literate compared to 63.6 percent in urban areas (The BHORER KAGOJ 8 , 8 September 2004). Figure 2.2 further illustrates the plight of women (especially rural women) compared to men. This takes into consideration the increasing trend in literacy rate. 12 15 19 19 20 3335 35 40 40 42 49 33 34 51 51 53 5663 58 72 72 73 70 0 20 40 60 80 1974 1981 1987 1988 1991 2000 Year Literacyrate(%) Rural women Rural men Urban women Urban men Figure 2.2: Gender Disparity in Urban and Rural Population in Bangladesh, 1974-2000 Source: ADB (2004) 2.1.1.1 Formal Education There are three levels of formal education system in Bangladesh. Gender related facts and figures at these three tiers are presented below: a) Primary level education9 : Since the government launched the ‘Compulsory Primary Education Programme (CPEP)’ in 1992, an impressive change has been achieved in eliminating the gender gap at primary school level. Girl enrolment in primary school improved from 46 percent to 50 percent (0.86 to 1.02) from 1990 to 2001, as shown in Figure 2.4. However, a 60 percent quota reserved for female teachers in primary schools has not yet been fulfilled although the number of female teachers has been increased from 20 percent in 1990 to 37 percent in 2001 (Figure 2.3). 8 National daily newspaper published in Bengali from Dhaka 9 Consists of five years of formal schooling (Grade I-V), which is compulsory and free for both boys and girls
  40. 40. SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW 21 0 20 40 60 80 100 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Year %teachers Male Female Figure 2.3: Gender-wise Percentage of Teachers in Government Primary Schools in Bangladesh, 1990-2001 Source: Primary Education in Bangladesh. Available at http://scs.une.edu.au/StudentFiles/HomePages/312_1_04/ROY_web/Data.htm (searched date: 31 March 2005). b) Secondary level education10 : From Figure 2.4, one can notice that there is a leap in the enrolment of girls in secondary schools in the years 1990 to 2001. The number of girl students in 1990 against 100 boys was 52 (34%) while this increased to 110 (52%) in 2001. 0.86 1.01 1.02 1.1 0.2 0.5 0.97 0.52 0.96 1.05 0.540.51 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1990 1998 2000 2001 Year Girlstoboysratio Primary Secondary Tertiary Figure 2.4: Ratio of Girls to Boys in the Enrolment of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Educational Level in Bangladesh, 1990-2001 Source: UNITED NATIONS (2005b) The enrolment rates of girls have significantly increased due to financial assistance provided by the developmental agencies aiming at retaining girls in secondary education, enhancing their employment opportunities as primary school teachers, extension workers, health and family planning workers, NGO 10 Consists of 7 years duration with 3 sub-levels: Junior Secondary Education (Grade VI-VIII), Secondary Education (IX-X) and Higher Secondary Education (XI-XII)
  41. 41. SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW22 workers and preventing early marriages. However, enrolment of girls in secondary schools in rural areas is not satisfactory due to socio-economic and cultural factors like early marriage, distance to school, lack of female teachers, girls’ physical and moral safety concerns and inadequate sanitation. c) Tertiary level education11 : A slower progress has been made (from 16% in 1990 to 33% enrolment in 2001) in eliminating gender parity at tertiary level compared to primary and secondary levels, as depicted in Figure 2.4. The percentages of female teachers and students are also substantially lower than that of males at tertiary level educational institutions, particularly in technical institutions (Table 2.1). It is necessary to emphasise here that the achievement of tertiary level of education by the females has remained considerably lower in rural areas because of prevailing economic, cultural and religious restrictions. Table 2.1: Number of Teachers and Students in Colleges and Universities of Bangladesh, 1997 Number of teachers Number of students Institutions Total % Of female Total % Of female Degree college 27511 17.4 1113149 29.3 Medical college 1475 18.9 11046 39.4 Dental college 86 22.1 525 38.9 Bangladesh Institute of Technology 232 3.4 3246 4.7 Law college 407 2.2 32155 22.9 General university 301 12.3 10958 21.9 Agricultural university 396 4.3 4300 13.7 Engineering university 424 9.2 5062 11.3 Source: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS, 1999) 2.1.1.2 Non-Formal Education Bangladesh has achieved a commendable success in non-formal education (NFE) in three-delivery modes i.e. centre-based approach through NGOs, total literacy movement (TLM) through district administration and through private voluntary organisations (PVOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs). The NFE is 11 Tertiary education starts after passing higher secondary certificate (HSC) examination. It comprises a 2-year for a Bachelor’s degree or 3 years for Bachelor (Honours) in liberal arts and science, 4-5 year courses in Bachelors degrees in professional disciplines like agriculture, engineering and medicine. Post-graduate courses leading to Ph.D. are also available in most of the universities.
  42. 42. SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW 23 designed for children, adolescents and adults in order to improve their employment, productivity and social participation with a special emphasis on females. A good number of NGOs are involved in the promotion of NFE. The contribution of Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) - the largest NGO in Bangladesh - is praiseworthy. In spite of notable achievements in upgrading literacy through NFE programme, gender disparity still exists as evident in Figure 2.5. Hence, the country needs a suitable transformation of non- formal education in order to mitigate gender gaps in the long run. 32.4 44.3 36.9 50.4 25.45 28.5 0 20 40 60 1991 1995Year %ofpopulation Total Male Female Figure 2.5: Gender Parity in Non-formal Education in terms of Enrolment in Bangladesh, 1991-95 Source: KHAN (2000) There are numerous initiatives undertaken jointly by the GOs, NGOs and international donors in intensifying female education in Bangladesh, with a special emphasise on poor women and girls who are traditionally underrepresented in formal education. Some of these initiatives are presented in Box 2.1. More efforts should, however, be made to reduce the dropout rates in schools and gender gap in education. This will in turn contribute to attainment of the MDGs by 2015. Box 2.1: Promotional Steps Undertaken to Enhance Female Education in Bangladesh - ‘National Campaign for Social Mobilisation for Basic Education’ launched in 1992 underscores the importance of education for girls. - Free education for girl students is offered up to higher secondary level and scholarships. - ‘Food for Education’ programme for poor children to improve enrolment and class attendance and reduce school dropout rate was started in 1993. - ‘Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP)-II’ will be continued until June 2009 with emphasis on educating female children.
  43. 43. SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW24 Box 2.1: Contd. - ‘Female Secondary School Assistance Project (FSSAP)’ since 1993 aimed at nullifying the gender gap in secondary education and raising female status in the economy and society. - ‘Social mobilisation campaign’ using multimedia techniques, including a cartoon series called ‘Meena’ which highlights the importance of education for poor girls. - Initiatives to overcome the shortage of female teachers in schools have been taken. - Satellite schools for Class I and II since 1990 entirely run by the local communities offer incentives to girls and poor children in primary school. 2.2.2 Health, Nutrition and Sanitation 2.2.2.1 General Health and Nutrition Despite the remarkable improvements in the health sector of the country over the last years, malnutrition rates among women and children are still the highest in the world (WORLD BANK, 2004). More than 50 percent of the women suffer from chronic energy deficiency that creates additional problems during pregnancy and childbirth (The NEW NATION 12 , 21 February 2003). Approximately 70 percent women of child bearing age experience anaemia caused by nutritional deficiency and consequently, 45 percent of the new-borns suffer from low-birth weight (RAHMAN et al., 2003). Over 43 percent of the pregnant women are found to be deficient of iodine and more than 2.7 percent develop night blindness during pregnancy (AL-KABIR, 2005). Vitamin-A deficiency is observed in a significant proportion of poor and lactating women (AHMED et al., 2003). Furthermore, the cases of death from mental illnesses and suicide are also high among women compared to men (BBS, 1999). In combination with poor maternal health care, children’s health status is also unacceptably poor. It is reported that about 52 percent of the children are undernourished and the incidence of severe malnutrition among girls under five is 2-4 percent higher than that of boys of same age (MILLENNIUM PROJECT, 2004). More than 60 percent of the population have very limited access to basic healthcare (MHFW, 2003). A recent survey found out that 60 percent of the health service users prefer unqualified medical practitioners like local healers, 27 percent use private medical practitioners and only 13 percent turn to government health services (The BANGLADESH OBSERVER 13 , 8 April 2005). As a result, the death rate 12 National daily newspaper published in English from Dhaka 13 National daily newspaper published in English from Dhaka
  44. 44. SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW 25 is approximately 9 per 1000 population (PRB, 2004), with a higher rate in rural areas as shown in Figure 2.6. 4.8 4 5.45 3.8 5.9 4 3.6 5 0 2 4 6 8 National Urban Rural Area Deathrate Both sex Male Female Figure 2.6: Approximate Death Rates per 1000 Population in Bangladesh, 1998 Source: BBS (1999) It is, however, projected that the death rate may fall to 7.0 by 2015 (Figure 2.7). 7.7 8.79.8 11.4 13.3 15.6 18.9 7 0 5 10 15 20 1975-80 1980-85 1985-90 1990-95 1995-2000 2000-05 2005-10 2010-15 Year Deathrate Figure 2.7: Approximate Death Rates per 1000 Population in Bangladesh, 1975-2015 Source: WHO (2002) 2.2.2.2 Reproductive and Sexual Health Though the government and NGOs have taken various steps regarding acceleration of the reproductive health programmes, the current scenarios of maternal mortality rate (MMR), infant mortality rate (IMR) and total fertility rate (TFR) are still at appalling states. The principal causes are low uptake of health services by women, poor infrastructure, poor quality of maternal health care services and women’s low social status in family and community. Various superstitions including restriction in mobility, consumption of adequate food and growth of the foetus are harm efforts to achieve healthy and safe motherhoods (AL-KABIR, 2005).
  45. 45. SITUATION OF WOMEN IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW26 About 2.6 million deliveries occur every year in the country, of which the skilled attendants (doctors, trained nurses/midwives) handle only 13 percent of the births; almost 90 percent of the births occur at home, often in unsafe and unhygienic conditions, generally assisted by traditional birth attendants or relatives (The BANGLADESH OBSERVER, 24 November, 2004). It is reported that only 25 percent of the pregnant women receive prenatal care and 18 percent of the mothers receive postnatal care from trained personnel within six weeks after delivery (AL- KABIR, 2005). Approximately 11-12 thousand mothers die every year due to delivery related complications and about 14 percent of the total maternal deaths are attributed to incidence of injuries and domestic violence (RAHMAN et al., 2003; The BANGLADESH OBSERVER, 8 April 2005). Even though the current MMR rate is very high at 3.0 per 1000 live births, there was a progressive reduction during the period of 1995 to 2001 (Figure 2.8). 447 444 350 323 320 318 315 380 375 308 285 263 261 258 452 450 378 336 333 329 326 0 100 200 300 400 500 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Year Number National Urban Rural Figure 2.8: Maternal Mortality Ratio per 100,000 Lives Birth in Bangladesh, 1995- 2001 Source: BHATTACHARJEE (2003) Due to continuous efforts of GO, NGOs and the development partners, there is a steep decline of total fertility rate (TFR) in Bangladesh from 6.3 in 1975 to 3.0 in 2004. An increase in the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) from 9.6 percent in 1975 to 58 percent in 2004 resulted in an appreciable decline in the fertility level (BDHS, 2004). Figure 2.9 illustrates that the TFR will be declining to 2.5 by 2050. 2.52.52.62.72.72.82.9333.13.23.2 0 2 4 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050 Year No.of children/woman Figure 2.9: Estimated Total Fertility Rate per Woman in Bangladesh, 1995 to 2050 Source: USAID (2004)

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