50 YEARS OF ENGENDERING WOMEN IN BANGLADESH’S POLITICS: PROGRESS OR PARADOX?
Keywords:Women’s political participation, patriarchy, Bangladesh, political institutionalisation, gender, women in parliament
The paper seeks to evaluate women’s political participation at the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh which emerged in 1971 as an independent country. The country has recorded notable development indicators in these years. Among such indicators, the example of two women holding the topmost positions in politics has often resulted in a misconstrued notion, implying that all women have a fair and just role in the country’s politics. This study argues that stark societal contradictions seriously threaten women’s political roles, participation and empowerment at all stages, as members of political parties, as elected representatives of the people and more significantly as voters. The research attempts to address the following questions: What are the roadblocks hindering women’s political engagement at all the above-mentioned stages? What measures has the government adopted for increasing women’s low representation in politics? What forward-looking strategies have been employed for enhancing women’s participation in public life? The findings show that a lot has yet to be achieved because women’s subordinated position in politics may be a result of low political institutionalisation and patriarchy, both in public and private spheres.
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