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The socio-legal status of Bangali women in Bangladesh : implications for development.

Rahman, Saira (1998) The socio-legal status of Bangali women in Bangladesh : implications for development. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86033) (KAR id:86033)


There have been specific studies on Bangladeshi women in the past, which have dealth with either the empowerment of rural women, Muslim women or women in the industrial sector. In order to determine the socio-legal position of Bangali women in Bangladesh, it has been necessary to identify and discuss different social and legal issues pertinent to the topic. This study is, therefore, not a selective one, but a broad-based analysis of the position of women in Bangladesh in the eyes of the social and legal system of the country.

The thesis deals with the 'socio-legal status' of Bangali women. Many may deem that using the term 'status' is degrading to women, as it conjures up the idea of measuring women to a male yardstick where women become dehumanised. However, this thesis has no intention of dehumanising women. The term 'status' has been used to determine women's position in the social and legal system in Bangladesh to date, and refers to women's access to legal, educational and 'public' resources and their decision making power within the household and larger society and what social and legal cosntraints they have to overcome.

The women of Bangladesh have always been dominated by a patriarchal society, reluctant to shed its traditions and customs which have denied women actual participation in political and social decision-making. This attitude is reflected in some of the laws prevalent in the country and in the lack of implementation of laws enacted to protect women.

It is, however, not only patriarchy which is stifling women in Bangladesh, but also poverty, which is, in some cases, due to patriarchal ideas. One example of this is the fact that women-headed households rate among the 'poorest of the poor' in the country, since these women have no male voice or support. Government run poverty alleviation programmes fail to include these households as patriarchal trends consider men to be the main wage-earners of a family.

This thesis has attempted to highlight and analyse the reasons why women in Bangladesh are discriminated against by society and in the eyes of the law. It also tries to analyse the reason why, after twenty-seven years of independence, the country is still poverty-stricken, despite the amount of international funds being poured into it to help finance development programmes. It emphasises the fact that to improve women's social, legal and even economic status in the country it is necessary to change the way society regards them.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86033
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Sociology, Bangladesh, Women, legal status, law, social conditions
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:25 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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