Paradox of Change in Women’s Capabilities: Case of Two Villages in Bangladesh

This paper seeks to understand why women’s capabilities and outcomes significantly vary in two apparently similar contexts characterized by prosperity, international migration and religiosity. By analyzing the data from two purposively selected villages of Sylhet and Chittagong, it attempts to understand the factors that drive or resist changes in social behaviour. This paper finds that both physical and ideational connectivity and interaction with institutions can play a big role. . It compares and contrasts the particular configurations of geographical, socio-cultural, institutional and economic circumstances within which women live their everyday lives This paper concludes that connectivity, both ideational and physical, and access to institutions are key factors that matter on the ground for change to take place. It further indicates the need to re-examine assumed relationships between gender outcomes and community characteristics such as patriarchal control, social cohesion, and religiosity in the ways that they interact and generate norms and values which may expand or restrict women’s choices and agency.

Author: Huq, Lopita
Type: Working Paper
Year: 2016