Accepted paper:

Gender norms and women: A study of socioeconomic development projects in rural Bangladesh

Authors:

K. M. Karim (Rajshahi University)

Paper short abstract:

The study reveals that, to some extent, women-empowering development projects build on traditional gender norms in rural Bangladesh. It is recommended that the development projects should create a mechanism where people may have a chance to re-think the importance of women's roles and rights.

Paper long abstract:

Women's participation in socioeconomic development projects is often regarded as essential for their wellbeing and empowerment. However, previous studies indicate that women's participation in the development projects may increase their workload and family conflict in the context of patriarchal social structure in rural Bangladesh. This study explores the gendered characteristics of the design and practice of mothers' clubs - a women-focused development project implemented for poverty reduction, family health, and women's empowerment in rural Bangladesh. Fieldwork was conducted in three sub-district set-ups in northwest Bangladesh. The mothers' club project has given more importance on the use of women's labour for household poverty reduction rather than their empowerment and wellbeing. Social workers believe that married women and their income should be in control of their husbands. They suggest participant women to obey and take good care of their husbands. To some extent, women-empowering social development projects build on gendered social norms in rural Bangladesh. It is recommended that the development projects should address patriarchal norms by creating an environment where people may have a chance to re-think the importance of women's socioeconomic roles and rights.

panel BH10
Development of the underdeveloped