Male Bias in Rural Bangladeshi Women’s Empowerment: A Comparative Analysis of the Jamaat-e-Islami Political Agenda and Microfinance’s Economic Freedom Agenda
AbstractThis paper sets out to examine male bias in the different approaches to women’s empowerment in rural Bangladesh. To understand a secular economic approach to women’s empowerment, the microfinance sector was assessed. For a religious approach, the Jamaat-e-Islam’s political agenda in Bangladesh was scrutinized. It was found that both efforts at improving conditions for women are heavily saturated within patriarchal norms and continue to operate within parameters established with male bias. Women’s autonomy, access to non-monetary assets, and mobility were restricted even within an empowerment context. Furthermore, the bias is sanctioned within the Bangladeshi constitution and the political parties that uphold it. This paper utilizes inferences from the study of Bangladesh as a tool for addressing male bias in women’s empowerment in other societies as well, particularly those with a patriarchal, religious hegemony such as the Mormon communities in the United States of America.
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