South Asian Women: A Case Study

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Women of the world have had to overcome some of the strongest prejudices against them since the beginning of time. The prejudices eventually trickled down to have a very real effect on them and the opportunities resulting in what is considered a disproportionate ratio of women to men, who are impoverished. In this paper we will discuss the parts of the world where female poverty strikes hardest, including South Asia and Pan-Africa. While exploring how cultural norms and lack education contribute to their economic status it is important to also consider the lengths they must go to support themselves and their families, as well as what some women and their countries are doing to help curb this widespread issue. The issue of concern being that …show more content…
In the impoverished regions of Asia, the bias against female children has set them up to be treated as burdens to their family not worth raising, let alone educating. In Bangladesh, a small country which resulted out of the British partition of Pakistan from India, girls are succeeding at higher rates than boys in school with higher literacy rates as young adults, yet they are only 19.7% of the parliament (World Bank, 2013). This low rate of social and economic advancement can be attributed to several factors which genders poverty and its effects. The rate of child-marriages in Bangladesh is the eighth highest in the world, with 52% of girls being married before the age of 18 and 18% before the age of 15 (UNICEF, 2016). The risk-factors range from familial poverty to the gender-bias against girls in South Asian society. As girls are seen as weak and in need of protection, parents marry them off to older men who will take responsibility for them. The concern of dowry is also taken into consideration, as girls are seen as a financial burden to the family from birth because of the social practice. The older a girl is when she gets married usually means the higher the dowry her family must pay to the husband’s family, a driving factor in why it is seen as worthless to pay to educate young girls. They are more useful in the house doing domestic labor until they leave to be married, where they will be expected to bear children (sons) and take care of their parents-in-law and all of her husband’s needs. According to Shahidur Khandker in, “Fighting poverty with microcredit: experience in Bangladesh,” women in general are “are restricted by social custom from seeking wage employment” (1998). Indicating a deeply rooted bias against women leaving the home. The complete disregard for women’s worth in the labor force, leaves them as “beasts of burden,” and they have few options for

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