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Women should be economically independent

Manjit Sing

Women should be economically independent

Rabindranath posed the question in his poem ‘Sabala’ a hundred years ago, ‘Why should women not be given the right to build their own destiny?’ That was the colonial rule. The colonial rulers were expelled from the country long ago. After that, Bangladesh gained independence in 1971 through armed struggle against the Pakistani ruling group, both men and women have contributed. But the right of women to build their own destiny is still elusive.

According to data from the Socio-Economic and Demographic Survey of 2004, 2011 and 2023 conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the rate of female-headed households has almost doubled in the last two decades. In the socio-economic and demographic survey in 2004, the rate of male-headed households in the country was about 92. The rate of female-headed households is about 8.

According to the Socio-Economic and Demographic Survey 2023, the rate of male-headed households is about 85 and the rate of female-headed households is about 15.

However, the number of female-headed households is slightly higher in Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics report of BBS. In 2022 it was 17 percent. If current trends continue, female-headed households may rise to 25 percent by 2030.

I don’t think it is appropriate to draw a dividing line between men and women in society and family. Still, BBS has come to the conclusion based on the ideas and data that the rate of female-headed households has increased, it is also confused. Sometimes women have to take care of the family due to husband’s death, illness or divorce, that is right. Instances of women joining the workplace after the death of their husbands or divorce are not few. The survey cited male expatriation as the reason for the rise in female-headed households. Although the role of women is important in the management of these families, they cannot make independent decisions about spending money. Even important matters like children’s education and marriage are decided by expatriate men or other relatives.

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