Gender Issues in Bangladesh
|Unit 1: Gender Issues in Bangladesh
By Dr. Zobaida Akhter
- Family and Gender Issues
- Women’s Human Rights
- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
- The Importance of CEDAW
- Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989
- Gender Discrimination in the Educational Institution
- Gender Discrimination in the Textbook of National Curriculum of National Textbook Board
- Gender Discrimination between teachers
- Gender Discrimination in the Classroom
- Key points
- Practice test
- Refferences and further readings
Since long run the women of Bangladeshi women have been struggling to establish their rights in family, society and in the state. The history of Bangladesh speaks that in any type of revolution or in constructive change, both men and women worked hand by hand. They put equal contribution in all these movements. We know that in the Liberation war of Bangladesh, the contribution of the women directly or indirectly is unmemorable. In the constitution, the article 26, 27, 28 and 29, the equal right of the women is declared. Especially in the article 27, it is declared that “All citizens are equal in front of law and should be provided by the state same shelter.In Islam gender equality occupies a great variety of importance. If you read the Qu’ran and Hadith, you should know that in different sura this topic got emphasis. In Islam not only the topic of gender equality is discussed from spiritual perspective but also got same importance in the worldly affairs also. In Islam the status of men and women is same and it justifies this equality from a reasonable basis. Islam considers the woman as an individual being not as a parasite. It is also mentioned in the ‘Qu’ran” that irrespective of sex both men and women will receive same reward and same punishment after death. According to Islam the rights and duties of Islam is same and one should complement each other. But practically in the society and the implementation of law, women are still facing discrimination. The male person dominates the patriarchal society, so the women are continuously becoming the targets of violence. Though from state and societal perspective steps are taken to combat violence but these are not implementing because of the negative attitude of the society. The attitude and the stereotyping values are responsible for the domination of the women by the men. This is societal evil and it should be curbing by society. Only gender sensitiveness could change the negative attitude of the society and could invite the overall progress for the women. To remove the barrier against women, society should be built on strong basis. And this basis will be our students or the next generation. The aim of introducing this unit in the social science book of class six is to make the students gender sensitive. By gender sensitive we understand that to make aware about the gender discrimination that has been developed by the society.
| Family and Gender Issues
Family is natural and historical shelter for the people. We know that all types of education originate from the family. When a child born then he or she started gradually to understand everything by following their parents. The reflection of the behavioral attitude between the parents integrated in the children. That is why parents should take care of rearing and bearing of the children and should be conscious in giving them education and imparted values to them. In any cases there should not be developed within them the idea that the girl is subordinate to the boys. No parents should give privilege to the son only. Our society is mainly patriarchal in nature, so that either father or any other male person dominated the family. As a result discrimination develops between the boys and girls, boys are considered to be an asset and the girls are considered to as a liabilities of the family. It is very stereotyping thinking of the society that only the mother and daughter should work household work and the father or the son will earn and govern the family. So discrimination starts from the family. Family is the strongest driving force for moulding the children into the right direction. If the family’s impact is negative on this regard, then we could not expect any justice to society. In the rural area of Bangladesh, the thinking is like this that the son will conceive the name of father and girl will not because she will go to her husband’s home. From religious and ethical perspective everyone should know that both boys and girls are the creation of God, so they are essentially same. Biological difference is not a point of discrimination for the girl it complements each other. The differences that apparently seen in the society is artificially created by the patriarchal society. This type of discrimination stops the progress of the women as well as the society. So lets start thinking positively and aware eveyone of the family to treat with son and daughter equally. Family is original and historical shelter for the people. We know that all types of education originate from the family. When a child That is why both parents should take care of rearing and bearing of the children and should be conscious in giving them education and imparted values to them. In any cases the parents should not developed any concept the children that the sister is subordinate to the brothers.There are many instances of gender inequality in the family which originates from the inherent nature and preconceived idea of the people. For your better understanding, one example is given below:
If your father bought a big fish from bazar, generally your mother will give the head of the fish either to your father or any male child. This is the general picture of the society.
| Women’s and child's human rights
From beginning of the creation, the family and state have be developed by joint collaboration between the men and women. In the primitive society the women only do household works and rearing and bearing the children. Gradually everything is changing; with the increase of the necessity, today’s women are working both in private and public field. But still they do not achieve the same status in the public and private field. UN charter and later on in 1948, 10 December in the Universal Declaration has been known as human rights bill. Its objective was two---1) To flourish the basic rights and possible talents 2) and to implement it through international process.
In 1979, 18 December the general assembly of UN has declared this convention or bill considering the issue of discrimination against women. Let’s now we look into the matter, why CEDAW is so important? Before this there were many convention but those did not get priority because those were not based on human rights.
|The Importance of CEDAW
- CEDAW is the only bill or contract which speaks about women issue
- By equality in CEDAW means equality of law and practical equality
- It determines the international standard regarding women rights.
- CEDAW gives the complete definition about the discrimination against women.
- It put equal importance to remove the discrimination on the private and public of women.
- The supporting countries of CEDAW are legally bound to implement the CEDAW
|Convention on the Rights of the Child,1989
CEDAW speaks about the equality of law and practical utility , we should not exclude the child's right . In 1989 this convention has established the rights and the status of the children from international perspective. By this convention all types of basic rights of the children are reserved. According to this convention, following rights of the children are ensured:
- Rights for name---Every child has right for their own name and the name of their nationality
- Rights on their parents
- To get help for the lonely and orphan child.
- Rights for education—every child has aright for primary education. And they have also rights for secondary and vocational education.
- Rights for healthy environment
- Rights for food and shelter
- Rights to get additional help for the disabled child
- Rights for health and treatment
- Rights for games
- Rights to refrain from hard work
- Rights to refrain from sex violence
- Rights to get rid of inhumane behavior
- Rights to remain safe from war
- Rights to express their own opinion.
We have already dicussed about the rights of the women and children according to CEDAW and Convention on the Rights of the Child,1989.In our constitution the rights of women and children was well reflected. But the question arises to what extent actually they are implemented in the real life. After 37 years of liberation war still the women are discriminated in the society. To remove the discrimination, all of us should understand about CEDAW. Once we understand the importance of CEDAW, it will be easier to resolve the problem. The children are the future generation of Bangladesh, who will lead the country, so our duty is to reserve their rights. Only some form of sacrifice, affection, and sympathy could reserve the rights of the children. The constitution of a country is a holy treaty, so we should be respectful to our constitution and hence could ensure the basic rights of the women and the children.
| Gender Discrimination in the Educational institution
The question may arises that how could we ensure the implementation of the rights of women and child. If we can aware the children who are the future citizen of the society, we could ultimately achieve the destination.The goals of education for All (EFA) are currently concerned with equality. If children are excluded from access to education, they are denied of their human rights and prevented from developing their talents and interest in different dimensions. Bangladesh is committed to EFA and Dakar Framework and UN Millennium Goals for 2015. Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 and gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girl’s full and equal access to basic education of good quality is one of the major goal of Dakar framework. A significant achievement of the last decade was to attain gender parity in primary school enrolment. Other components are improvement in gross and net enrolment in primary education and reduction in dropout and improvement in completion of the cycle, encouraged by provision of free textbooks to all students, food for education and lately stipends for stipends for poor children. Apparently many positive changes have been achieved but in reality some discrimination still remains in the different educational areas in Bangladesh which we much addressed to the students so that they could identified the problem themselves.
|Gender Discrimination in National Text Book Board
National Curriculum and textbook Board (NCTB) had already made some progress towards gender-balanced curriculum and textbooks. They have adopted policy to change the textbooks in order to make it more gender-sensitive. They had done much more progress in making a basic changes in the text, content, instructional design and in overall curriculum. The changes that will be recommended are not any radical or basic change. The suggestions are given to make the textbook and curriculums more gender balanced and gender-sensitive. Childs formal education started from the primary education, so the learning materials, environment and the attitude of the teachers are very important. To make healthy child with healthy and positive attitude and make them understand that there are no difference between men and women. So children lets start thinking about the relation of men and women. Lets try to identify some of the examples that should not begender biased.
- The pictures of boys and girds should not be placed in a certain manner, which implies the functionally defined role of boy and girl. We should know that anything pre-set or pre-defined idea has no scope of changes towards development.
- Any description regarding girl’s beauty and boy’s strength should not be emphasized.
- There are many female freedom fighters and suffers in liberation war. Their name and story should be included in the textbook.
- The activities of the women actually perform in the field and home should be recognized and mentioned.
A picture in a textbook wher a boy is operating computer and in the monitor there is a picture of girl who is mopping the floor
|Gender Discrimination between the male and female teachers
There should be good harmony between male and female teachers. They should Respect each other, because what children learn from their teachers reflect this In their daily lives. In the rural areas where people are somewhat superstitious. So if there are more female teachers in the class , the parents will feel secured to send the daughter in the school. Bangladesh Govt. has taken strong initiative to fulfill the 60% quota for female teachers in the primary education and 30% for second. But practically it has not been implemented. There are many causes behind this.
- The written exam and interview which the teachers faced
it hard for the female , so they do not pass.
- Transfer system is the barrier for female teachers because they could not ignore their household responsibility.
- Sometime provision of maternity leave discourages the employer to give job to female.
- Finally, Female themselves have negative attitude towards public work. They are habituated to confine within the four walls.
In school management committe almost there are no female teacher because it is a decision making body and it is the concept of the society that the decision should be taken by male person
|Gender Discrimination in the Class Room
Sometimes the teachers behave discriminated attitude towards the students, what makes a student disinterested for teaching and attending the classroom.. I believe that you have also face this type of problems. These types of behavior are:
- Sometimes the teachers prefer the boys to be a captain of the class. Because they think that only boys have a leadership quality. This type of attitude depressed the girls and make them parasite.
- When the teachers teaches in the class they only concentrate on the boy students and ask them question and ask them to write in the blackboard.. This is also gender discriminated attitude.
- Sometimes when the girl student could not prepare their task for burden in the household activities, teacher even female teachers do not handle the class sensitively and softly.
- In the coeducation system, sometimes the sitting arrangement of the boys and girls is separate. The impact of this will create in the mind of the students that they should be different from every perspective.From the very childhood if this type of differences are encouraged by the society, it will continue life long and violence against women will be common picture of the society. As we know teachers are the friends, philosophers and guide for the students, Teachers should get training on gender-balanced attitude.According to Islam the rights and duties of Islam is same and one should complement each other. But practically in the society and the implementation of law, women are still facing discrimination. Lets learn what Islam says about theequality of men and women and how it encourage gender equality.
In co-education school, boys are preferebly the captain of the class , girls are consider as weaker for leadership
| The Different Aspect of Gender Equality in Islam
Islam is completely based on unity and equality. The men and women should stay together on the basis of cooperation and sacrifice. They are the creation of same God that is why their deeds will be justified from same angle. In Islam gender equality is understood from different perspective:
• Equality from creation perspective
The creation of men and women is from men and women. Both are responsible for giving birth to a child. When they are born, they born equally then in the society they should establish as a citizen with full rights and duties towards society and state.Islam believes that all men and women after death will go back to their original place that is to God and they will be treated equally based on their good and bad deeds.
• Rights of Women in Islam
All types of rights for women in Islam are ensured. Among them the right for equal opportunity, social rights, economic rights and religious rights. One thing you should know that in Islam not only rights of women are ensured but it has been mentioned that to violate women’s right is the violation of human right.
• Rights for Talents and Religious rights
Islam permits equal freedom of thinking for men and women. They should have equal rights of decision making in any issue. There is no pressure in Islam; it is mentioned in the Qu’ran. In the Qu’ran all the good and bad deeds are metioned, so both men and women have freedom to choice the deeds according to their wish. God has given everybody the sense of judgment
• Social and Economic rights
Islam encourages the equal participation of men and women in all the social activities. Both men and women could contribute to the development of society according to their capacity.
• Rights to Education
Love for knowledge and search for knowledge is compulsory for men and women. Knowledge and Islam complement each other. Islam says those who are wise they can understand religion better than who are not. In Islam emphasis has been given for equal opportunity and same education for both men and women.
• Rights to Property
Both men and women have same rights on their own income. They have also same rights on their inherited property.
• Rights to work Islam says a woman can work in any profession.
• Rights to marriage
Both men and women have rights to give consent for their marriage according to their wish.
• Political rights
Both men and women have rights to accept which is good for the state and reject the bad one. Islam permits women to go in the battlefield and it was practiced in Islam.
Most of the countries in the world have accepted ethically about the equal rights of men and women. But due to ignorance in some area, we could not find its practical implementation. If we consider the issue in the light of Islam, we will see there are no hindrances in the progress of this issue.
The key points of this chapter are as follows:
· Family · Gender · CEDAW · Discrimination · Women Rights · Child Rights · Textbooks · Classroom · Teachers · Education · Islam ·Rights
- Convention : Formal agreement
- Article : Part of a creed or statement
- Gender : Men and Women
- NCTB : National Curriculum and Textbook Board
- EFA : Education for All
Essay Type Question
1. What do you know about the common practice of gender discrimination in the family?
2. Write down the importance and implementation of CEDAW.
3. Write down about the gender discrimination in the textbooks.
4. Discuss the different aspect equality between men and women.
5. say a story about any family known to you where you have seen discrimination among boy and girl?.
1. What is CEDAW and why is CEDAW?
2. What is the gender discrimination among the teachers?
3. What is the status of gender balance in the family?
4. Why the parents discriminated among girl chid and male child? Write in 30 words.
5. Define the rights mentioned in Islam about political, educational and property rights.
|Answers to SAQs
4.Sometimes not seen
5.Both men and women
|References and Further Readings
Gender Issues in Primary Education Final Report May 2005 Written by Dr.Zobaida Akhter Gender and Development Specialist Primary Education Development Project Directorate of Primary Education Govt. of Bangladesh, Dhaka