Of Mangroves and Monsters: Women’s Political Participation and Women’s Studies in Bangladesh

Bangladesh women are far removed from statecraft in terms of representation and participation in political institutions and policy-making bodies. Their engagement with state power and involvement in politics generally tend to be peripheral and marginalized. Paradoxically, two women have ruled the country as heads of government for the past two decades. What are the reasons for this paradox? What are the causes responsible for the disjunction that exists between state power and women? Why is politics in Bangladesh so barren of women and women’s issues?

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About The Author

Najma Chowdhury

Professor Chowdhury received Ekushe Padak in 2008. She also held the UGC Rokeya Chair in 2007-09. She served in the Caretaker Government of 1996 as a member of the council of Advisors and held the portfolios of the Ministries of Women and Children Affairs. Social Welfare, and Labour and Manpower. Alongside her professional career, she was also involved in advocacy aiming at gender equality. She served as president of Women for Women, and advocacy group that highlights women's issues through research, publication and lobbying. She was chair of the largest coalition of NGOs in Bangladesh that carried out extensive country-wide mobilization in preparation for the Women's Conference in Beijing in 1995.

Of Mangroves and Monsters : Women’s Political Participation and Women’s Studies in Bangladesh is a collection of articles that questions male hegemony in politics, showcases women’s Vulnerability in public life and critiques the women’s movement as it articulates and aggregates women’s movement as it articulates and aggregates women’s issues. The prime focus, however, is on women’s political representation in the legislature, with mechanisms to preclude or prevent women from entering or advancing in their political flight path. The author’s analysis of the phenomenon of women’s political subordination and subservience is enriched by her expertise in political science and women’s studies. Her experience in dealing with policy issues through her involvement with the women’s movement and association with governance, for however brief a period, has also made an impact on the book. The book not only draws out the interfacing that exists between women in politics and women’s studies, but also leads towards and understanding of how the built-in-discriminations that exist within social institutions and organisations disadanatage girls and women in every sphere and phase of life, at home and in professions, across cultures and class divids.


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