Challenges and Coping Strategies of Women Leaders at the Local Level in Bangladesh
Keywords:women leaders, local level
This research aims at uncovering the struggle and coping strategies adopted by the women leaders at the grassroots based local government namely, Union Council, in Bangladesh. Although local government in Bangladesh is 145 years old but women’s representation began only about two decades ago. Since their entry into the Union Council in 1997, the women leaders have been struggling to ensure their full participation in all sorts of activities and decision making process. Against this backdrop, this research focused on the major threats against women’s participation in the Union Council and how do woman leaders cope with the challenges for ensuring their participation in the Union Council. Using interpretive qualitative research approach, it was found that the women leaders usually face three major challenges towards ensuring their participation such as male domination, corruption and faulty legal provision imposed on women leaders. On the other hand, women leaders adopted various formal and informal coping strategies in order to overcome the threats of participation. The formal means were debates, meeting, seeking help from local administration and other legal means. Informal means include using of social capital such as; contacting with local member of parliament, political leaders, seeking assistance from other woman leaders, local NGOs, community people and media to ventilate their grievances and deprivations. Finally, some interventions were suggested such as; democratization of Union Council structure and making it more inclusive so that women leaders can participate in the overall governance of the Union Council.
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