The situation of underprivileged women of Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a total population of about 160 millions. Out of which approximately 80 millions are women. These women fall under the category of three classes – upper, middle and lower. The women belong to upper and middle classes, like many other developing countries, have ample opportunities for their self-development. They enjoy every right to exercise their own freedom and are fully aware of their social rights and obligations. They are contributing a lot in the field of education, economy, business and politics in national policy making matters. Irrespective of their social status, they can take part in any national activity. Many of them get elected as a member of parliament and some of them even become minister. Presently, the head of two major political parties are women. The present Prime Minister is also a woman. The opportunities for women are gradually increasing day by day but unfortunately, only for the privileged women.

The women of lower class completely bear a different picture. They lag behind in all aspects of their needs as compared to men and women of middle and higher classes. Society imposes so many barriers against their development. A heinous example of socially imposed women’s inferiority is the dowry tradition.

Women are deprived of education opportunity because of their poverty, social barriers and indifferent attitude of the authorities towards them. As a result, in one way or other, they are deprived of economic opportunities too. They live both in rural and urban areas with their husbands with three or more children together. Some of them, with a large number of members live in a joint family. For their livelihood they work hard from morning to evening. They mostly live on agriculture. They grow vegetable, flower plants, make toys, baskets, brooms and breed poultry / cattle for their additional income. The women having no land, usually work out of their houses in brick fields, nursery and agricultural field etc. However, the life of poor urban women is somewhat harder. They normally work in factories and many of them work as domestic workers.

There is a dire need to educate the rural women. But in fact, these women are not familiar with education. They are also not aware about their social rights and obligations. Neither they are concerned about their own living standard. But they are surprisingly aware about their children’s education and health. Proper support and counseling can motivate and encourage them toward education. Offering incentives such as stipend, food, free of cost health services can be very effective to retain them in learning process. Forming of groups, selection of classroom, appointment of teacher, class time, duration of course and the proper follow up system are necessary. Finally, before chalking out a scheme, preference has to be given to the participant’s convenience.

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