Overall Women Empowerment and Their Success in Bangladesh

1Empowering women in Bangladesh is really tough due to such male dominated society; but it is not impossible. The development and involvement of women in social and business arena is gradually increasing. Hundreds of NGO’s and Development organizations are working for the women. But there are only a few organizations who are dedicatedly working with the grassroots women. Association of Grassroots Women Entrepreneurs, Bangladesh (AGWEB) is one of the unique associations who are working for them as well as for others.

 Now-a-days, women are overcoming many social problems with the help of many development organizations. In the South Asia, the development of women empowerment is remarkable. Women are now playing many major roles in different sectors with success. In Bangladesh, there are many examples of its success. Now, there is no area or sector in Bangladesh in which women are not present. From SME to the leader, women are everywhere. And Association of Grassroots Women Entrepreneurs, Bangladesh (AGWEB) is continuously working for the establishment of women empowerment in every sector.

 Bangladesh is often cited as a global model for sustainable economic development. Despite being one of the world’s largest in terms of population, and most prone to natural disasters as a result of global climate change, the country has maintained an impressive 6% plus annual economic growth trajectory during the past decade.

 According to a number of reports, the country’s focus on giving women better health and more economic autonomy has had a significant impact on rural household incomes, poverty reduction and increased educational enrolment, particularly for females who usually lag behind males in the Global South. The Economist (Nov 3, 2012) notes that “both the boom in the textile industry and the arrival of microcredit have, over the past 20 years, put money into women’s pockets—from which it is more likely to be spent on health, education and better food.” The textile industry in Bangladesh, regarded as the key to its economic growth, employs nearly 4 million people, most of whom are women. There is an abundance of literature supporting the relationship between women’s empowerment in the economic sector in Bangladesh and the country’s sustained economic development trajectory.

Women in Agriculture

2Despite their routine work, women are very actively involved in agricultural production in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, around 120 millions of people are involved in agricultural sector. Among those people about 53.25% are male and 46.75% are female. The agriculture sector accounted for nearly 17.3% of GDP which provides 19.36 billion USD. Women contribution in GDP is USD 11.81 billion.

Women in RMG (Ready-Made Garments)

3The RMG industry of Bangladesh started in the late 1970s and became an important player in the economy. The industry has contributed to export earnings, foreign exchange earnings, employment creation, poverty alleviation and the empowerment of women.

In 2011, out of 4 million manpower employed in garments industries, 3.12 million are women (78%); majorities of them are disadvantaged and economically poverty stricken women folk. With the growth of RMG industry, linkage industries supplying fabrics, yams, accessories, packaging materials, etc. have also expanded. Many women are getting opportunities to work in those industries. Contribution in GDP: Approx. 12.5% of total GDP

Bangladesh is a developing nation, rich in human resource, where women constitute slightly less than a half of the population. The majority of them are underprivileged, under nourished, illiterate and poor. Moreover, without the garment sector, there are not enough employment opportunities for women. Therefore economic activities through self-employment have become essential for potential working women. As a matter of fact, women entrepreneurship or women in business has gained importance and acts as a very recent phenomenon in Bangladesh. Although women are taking entrepreneurship in many challenging fields, their activities in Bangladesh are not that extensive. However, in spite of fewer opportunities, many women have successes in business although; they are very small in number.

In Bangladesh, women entrepreneurship started developing in fact after the liberation of Bangladesh. Very few women entered the profession of business before seventies. Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs need to have an extra quality in form of dogged determination and resilience since this is needed to fight with adverse situations which seem to confront female entrepreneurs than their male counterparts in the present-day context.

World Heritage Sites in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a land of mystery and intrigue. From natural wonders to sites of historical and cultural interest, Bangladesh’s attractions draw vast numbers of tourists annually.

Bangladesh’s tourist attractions include, historical and monuments, resorts, beaches, picnic spots, forests and tribal people, wildlife of various species. Bangladesh offers ample opportunities to tourists for angling, water skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, yachting, sea bathing as well as bringing one in close touch with pristine nature. The country was listed by Lonely Planet in 2011 as the “best value destination”

Bangladesh boasts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of these is The Mosque City of Bagerhat. Situated in the southwest region of Bangladesh, it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983. Paharpar is another World Heritage Site. Designated such in 1985, this is an ancient city inhabited by Mahayana Buddhists. Distinctive Buddhist architecture is seen in the buildings. The third World Heritage site is the Sundarbans. This is the world’s biggest mangrove forest extending through Bangladesh and India.

Mosque City of Bagerhat 

Shat Gambuj Mashjid
Shat Gambuj Mashjid

The Mosque City of Bagerhat (Originally known as Khalifatabad) is a formerly lost city, located in the suburbs of Bagerhat city in Bagerhat District, in the Khulna Division of southwest of Bangladesh.

The city was founded in the 15th century by the warrior saint Turkish general Ulugh Khan Jahan. The city’s infrastructure reveals considerable technical skill and an exceptional number of mosques and early Islamic monuments, many built of brick, can be seen there.

The magnificent city, which extended for 50 km2, contains some of the most significant buildings of the initial period of the development of Muslim architecture of Bengal. They include 360 mosques, public buildings, mausoleums, bridges, roads, water tanks and other public buildings constructed from baked brick.site_0321_0005-260-260-20140623145757

The original picturesque location and the natural setting of these densely located religious and secular monuments along with the medieval form and design are intact. The property of the Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat contains and preserves all the necessary elements which include not only mosques but also residences, roads, ancient ponds, tombs, chillakhana (ancient graveyard). Therefore, the attributes of the city are still preserved.

Mosques, tombs or mausoleums, and other monuments which have been restored from among the large number of ruins in the city are:

  1. Shat Gombuj Masjid
  2. Nine dome mosque
  3. Singara mosque
  4. Ronvijoypur Mosque
  5. The Chuna Khola Mosque

A small museum has been established by the Directorate of Archaeology of Bangladesh, in collaboration with UNESCO, in front of the Shait Gumbaz Mosque, where antiquaries collected from the area of the historical site are displayed providing knowledge on the history of Bagerhat. It has three exhibit galleries of antiquaries related to the “Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat”, which include inscriptions, potteries, terracotta plaques and ornamental bricks. Pictures of important historic buildings of Bangladesh are also part of the exhibits here.

Paharpur Bihar

Paharpur
Paharpur                        

Evidence of the rise of Mahayana Buddhism in Bengal from the 7th century onwards, Somapura Mahavira, or the Great Monastery, was a renowned intellectual centre until the 12th century. Its layout perfectly adapted to its religious function, this monastery-city represents a unique artistic achievement. With its simple, harmonious lines and its profusion of carved decoration, it influenced Buddhist architecture as far away as Cambodia.

Paharpur is a small village 5 km west of Jamalganj in the Greater Rajshahi District where the remains of the most important and largest known monastery south of the Himalayas have been excavated.

The Paharpur Vihara, known as Somapura Mahavira, was built by the Pala Emperor Dharmapala (AD 770-810). The monastery is quadrangular in form, with a colossal temple of a cross-shaped floor plan in the centre of the courtyard and with an elaborate gateway complex on the north. There are 45 cells on the north and 44 in each of the other three sides, making a total number of 177 monastic cells along the enclosure walls on the four sides. This layout, and the decoration of carved stones and terracotta plaques, reflect the building’s religious function, which is greatly influenced by Buddhist architecture from Cambodia and Java (Indonesia).

 Nameable statues found

258px-First_level_plinth_at_Somapura_MahaviharaThe statues are reserved in the adjacent museum for display. Some nameable statues are:

  • ‘Chamunda’ Statue of Clay Stone.
  • Standing ‘Seetala’ Statue of Red Stone.
  • Broken Parts of ‘Visnu’ Statue of Krishna Stone.
  • ‘Keerti’ Statue of Clay Stone.
  • Damaged ‘Haargouri’ Statue.
  • Broken Statue of Laxmi Narayan of Krishna Stone.
  • ‘Uma’ Statue of krishna Stone.
  • ‘Gouri’ Statue of Clay Stone.
  • ‘Visnu’ Statue of Clay Stone.
  • Nandi Statue.
  • ‘Visnu’ Statue of Krishna Stone.
  • Sun Statue.
  • ‘Mansha’ Statue of Clay Stone.

The Sundarbans

Map of Sundarbans
                 Map of Sundarbans

The Sundarbans mangrove forest, one of the largest such forests in the world (140,000 ha), lies on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal. It is adjacent to the border of India’s Sundarbans World Heritage site inscribed in 1987. The site is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests, and presents an excellent example of ongoing ecological processes. The area is known for its wide range of fauna, including 270 bird species, the Bengal tiger and other threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.

 Fauna

Royal bengal tiger
                       Royal bengal tiger

The Sundarbans provides a unique ecosystem and a rich wildlife habitat. According to the 2011 tiger census, the Sundarbans have about 270 Royal Bengal Tigers. Tiger attacks are frequent in the Sundarbans. Between 0 and 50 people are killed each year.

 Plentiful species of small fish, sawfish, butter Fish, electric ray, common carp, silver carp, barb, river eels, starfish, king crab, fiddler crab, hermit crab, prawn, shrimps, skipping frogs, common toads and tree Frogs and Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), Water monitor lizards (Varanus salvator), Sharks, Gangetic dolphins (Platanista gangetica) etc. are available in water of Sundarbans.

A 1991 study has revealed that the Bangladeshi part of the Sundarbans supports diverse biological resources including at least 150 species of commercially important fish, 270 species of birds, 42 species of mammals, 35 reptiles and 8 amphibian species. The Sundarbans is an important wintering area for migrant water birds and is an area suitable for watching and studying avifauna.

 Flora

file (2)A total 245 genera and 334 plant species were recorded by David Prain in 1903. The Sundarbans flora is characterised by the abundance of sundari (Heritiera fomes), gewa (Excoecaria agallocha), goran (Ceriops decandra) and keora (Sonneratia apetala) all of which occur prominently throughout the area. The characteristic tree of the forest is the sundari (Heritiera littoralis), from which the name of the forest had probably been derived. It yields a hard wood, used for building houses and making boats, furniture and other things. There is abundance of dhundul or passur (Xylocarpus granatum) and kankra (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza) though distribution is discontinuous. Among palms, Poresia coaractataMyriostachya wightiana and golpata (Nypa fruticans), and among grasses spear grass (Imperata cylindrica) and khagra (Phragmites karka) are well distributed.

The Sundarbans plays an important role in the economy of the southwestern region of Bangladesh as well as in the national economy. It is the single largest source of forest produce in the country. The forest provides raw materials for wood based industries. In addition to traditional forest produce like timber, fuelwood, pulpwood etc., large scale harvest of non-wood forest products such as thatching materials, honey, bees-wax, fish, and crustacean and mollusc resources of the forest takes place regularly.

The forest also has immense protective and productive functions. Constituting 51% of the total reserved forest estate of Bangladesh, it contributes about 41% of total forest revenue and accounts for about 45% of all timber and fuel wood output of the country.