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The AEDSB Washington Seminar Series
The Changing Face of Bangladesh: Gender Equality and Social Transformation
by Maitreyi Das, Senior Social Sector Specialist, the World Bank
Discussant: Chrisine Wallich, Senior Adviser, and former Country
Director for Bangladesh, the World Bank
When: Wednesday, October 10, 12:30 to 2 pm.
Where: Room MC 10-790, The World Bank, 1818 H Street, N.W. Washington D.C. 20433
Abstract: Drawing on the recently completed Bangladesh Gender Assessment (2007), Dr. Das presents a picture of the deep social and economic transformation taking place in Bangladesh. She uses a mix of methods including a survey of perceptions and attitudes and qualitative work to take an interdisciplinary look on Bangladesh society that has changed in unexpected ways: Girls' education, once the priority of a new nation, now leaves boys behind. Marriage patterns have changed with increasing numbers of girls marrying boys less educated than them. In health, there is a narrowing of gender inequality in childhood but in adulthood women still lag behind men in many important outcomes. The report also looks at labor market trends and compares them to neighboring West Bengal. But perhaps one of its most interesting contributions is a measurement of norms and attitudes and the intergenerational changes therein. It finds that historically attributed factors like purdah, religion and son preference have both unexpected effects on women's empowerment and are changing and reinventing their roles. Finally, the report assesses the regional determinants of various outcomes - what is unique about Sylhet, it asks? Why do some regions have better outcomes than others? Even when it doesn't have the answers, the questions it leaves behind are provocative and important.
About the Presenter: Dr. Maitreyi Bordia Das is the lead author of the Bangladesh Gender Assessment. She is a Senior Social Sector Specialist in the World Bank's in the the Sustainable Development Department. A demographer and sociologist by training, she has a PhD from the University of Maryland. Before joining the Bank, she spent many years as an officer of the Indian Administrative Service.