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Lived experiences of empowerment: A case study of a vocational training programme for women in Bangladesh

Haque, Tatjana Myriam; (2000) Lived experiences of empowerment: A case study of a vocational training programme for women in Bangladesh. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores how low-income women in Bangladesh experience empowerment on a day to day basis. I take a holistic approach incorporating economic, social and embodied dimensions of empowerment into the analysis. I seek to understand how women are able to reshape their lives, make their own choices and open new spaces for themselves. The vocational training programme for poor rural women by the grassroots organisation Gonoshasthaya Kendra provides the setting for my case study of women's empowerment. The research on which this thesis is based employed an in-depth qualitative methodology, participant observation and a social survey of current trainees. The Gonoshasthaya Kendra programme aims to challenge the myths and misinterpretations surrounding appropriate roles for women in Bangladeshi society. It does this by offering non-traditional employment training for women. Participants are trained in skilled manual and technical trades and services such as welding, carpentry, plumbing, printing and professional driving. In addition to creating new employment opportunities, Gonoshasthaya Kendra provides a space for women to establish collective social relationships. These offer women a source of social support which can complement or even replace family and kinship networks. They can also form the basis for collective action in pursuit of women's interests. The experience of Gonoshasthaya Kendra women serves to demonstrate to their families and communities that alternative gender roles are possible in Bangladesh. I argue for a reassessment of current notions of empowerment, stressing women's own accounts of their lived and embodied experiences. This approach to understanding empowerment acknowledges women's agency and ability to effect change in their own lives and in those of others. This thesis also contributes to challenging the representation of women in Bangladesh as a victimised, powerless and invisible group.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Lived experiences of empowerment: A case study of a vocational training programme for women in Bangladesh
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Education; Bangladesh
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106567
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