VOF Week 4: (Voice will be heard)
The image of Bangladeshi women in most cases I get from the literature is quite different from the image I get from my master’s thesis and my personal observation and also experiences on women’s empowerment. Most of the time those who are working for Bangladeshi Women empowerment speaks only on rural poor Bangladeshi women and suggest that women are not aware of their rights (education, healthcare etc). Therefore various kinds of educational programme and micro-credit programmes etc are running by Bangladeshi Government, NGOs and microfinance institutions which are helping women to promote their self confidence and to make them aware of their rights. In addition to the helpless poor and illiterate women who are not aware of their rights there are lots of women of courage in Bangladesh, too. These women are strong and self motivated. They received higher education, have dignified social status, and have a better way of earning. Still what is the output? Are they empowered? Can they lead their life as they wanted to live?
One of my participants from my master thesis told me, “though I started to continue my working life as a media worker in Bangladesh I couldn’t continue it for long. Society started to criticize negatively that I was not a kind of a girl who was fit for a conjugal life. I was against such a norm and regulation where family respect and honour should be kept intact only through the sacrifice of the women. The woman like me who was brave and educated also got frightened. I became anxious not only for my own future but also for my younger sister who was still unmarried. I thought my standing against the traditional system might affect her future. I sacrificed my identity which I built after many years of hard work. I got married to a person chosen by my family, and later came to Sweden with my husband. Now I am nobody here in Sweden”. Almost from all of my participants the interesting finding I got that woman even with lots of courage and confidence could not win over their stereotype reality. Another interesting finding I got from my master’s thesis is that family is supporting the women to be educated in one side and in other side they are not supporting them with necessary amount of encouragement to finish that education and to imply that education. It is true that my thesis participants do not represent the illiterate poor women of rural Bangladesh but they represent those women who can contribute in emancipation of the whole women population of Bangladesh. They can play a leading role in the emancipation of the oppressed women of our country as they are educated and privileged and also posses the ability to have a critical mind about their situation. This made me think to explore the situation of women in Bangladesh from a different point of view. I asked myself if these kinds of educated, self motivated, confident, and employed women are compelled to defeat then is it possible to change the oppressed situation of women successfully through the education, credit programmes run by government and different organizations working for women? Are these women really privileged in the true sense? Why in most cases these women are neglected as “subjects for research”? Do they need to have attention from the Government and other policy level? I decided to focus elaborately on the issue to get all the answers. After a long way of struggle I truly believe “No one will speak for me, I must have to speak for myself”. Though it’s really difficult to be in your own way still it’s possible. I always like to be optimist and dare to dream. But for making the dream in true it needs a platform and if it’s like “world pulse” it’s obviously a strong platform where the whole world is in a same train. If I can be a correspondent I will have legal rights and strong base to speak for myself and my community. By becoming a correspondent my way of speaking will be constructive and confident so that it will be heard strongly!