What is it like to be a woman in Bangladesh during times of socio-economic transformation? What forms of discrimination must women deal with on a daily basis? This report discusses the social, economic, political and legal status of women in Bangladesh and identifies the needs of women in employment, health, education, access to and control over natural resources, and physical security. Women are largely discriminated against in all of these sectors, and lack access to education, health, economic and natural resources and legal rights.
Gender relations are undergoing change with increasing women’s labour force participation (sometimes in traditionally male areas), erosion of their entitlements (e.g. through marriage breakdown), increasing female rural-urban migration, and rising numbers of female-headed households. Yet this conflicts with traditional cultural practices which subject women to men’s control, often reinforced through violence. Government policies and donor programmes must recognise widespread gender discrimination and introduce gender analysis into programmes, so as to develop responsive strategies to overcome this inequality.