Internal Female Migration Towards Dhaka
Subject: Modern Civilization, Sociology | Topics:

Literature review of female internal migration:

Movement of population has been a neglected area of research in Bangladesh, as compared with the other two demographic processes. Existing literature and census statistics give us an incomplete and inadequate picture of the total mobility behavior of the people of Bangladesh as well as any particular form or stream (Stock El et al. 1972 Chaudhury and Curlin 1975, Chaudhury 1978a, 1983, CUS 1981, 1982, Islam 1986 and Mahbub 1986). However, some research work has been conducted on internal female migration in Bangladesh. A few studies related with this work have been presented in this chapter.

Shahnaz   Huq   Hussain   1995,   conducted   her   study   entitled “Pattern of Internal Migration in Bangladesh: some new dimensions in female migration” published in Oriental Geographer Vol. 39, No. 1 & 2, with two objectives –

  • to review the trend of gender based internal migration in Bangladesh.
  • to make a comparative analysis of internal migration pattern of poor females among different occupational groups in Bangladesh.

The author opined that the people of the country are mobile and women are highly active participants in the internal migration stream. Two surveys have been conducted in this research. The first survey, 399 females living in the slums of Dhaka were interviewed while the second survey interviewed 100 garment factory workers in Dhaka. The results of these two surveys have comparatively been presented. It has been observed from the first survey that Comilla (29%), Faridpur (17%), Dhaka (16%) and Barisal (14%) districts constituted more than three quarters of migrants to Dhaka City. In the second survey, districts of Barisal (18%), Tangail (17%), Mymensingh (11%), Netrokona (19%), Faridpuir (8%) and Dhaka (4%) made up over 75% of the migrants. Economic opportunity is the main reason of their migration. Five percent females of the former and two percent females of the later study stated that their migration was caused by river erosion. Nature of movement demonstrated that nearly half 49% of the respondents migrated to the city with their husbands while in the second survey about a quarter 24% only moved with their husbands. It was revealed from the two surveys that 7% and 8% females respectively migrated alone from the female-headed households. In both surveys, the age structure of the females indicated that young working age females (15-33 age groups) dominated the migration stream. Difference in educational levels was noticed between the two surveys. Most of the migrants (90%) were uneducated in the first survey as compared to the 49% in the second survey. Four percent of the migrants were found to have higher levels of education as compared to none in the first survey. Seventy seven percent females of the first survey were married at the time of migration. On the other hand 46% females only of the second survey were married at the time of migration. The other important findings like-job opportunity was observed as important to influence female migration. The young unmarried females are actively participating in the rural-urban migration stream in recent decades. This has a direct and positive economic and social impact in the villages which has raised the social status of women.

The work entitled “Migration of Female Construction Laborers to Dhaka City. Bangladesh” by Rosie Majid Ahsan, 1997 (Published on International Journal of Population Geography, Vol. 3, 49-61 ) showed that   the   recent   female   labour   migration   towards   urban   areas   as construction workers in the informal sector was a new trend of internal migration. The objectives of this study were

  • to analyze migration patterns and processes for female construction labour in Dhaka City.
  • to analyze the impact of this migration on environment.

In this research, 200 samples had been taken from the construction sites in Dhaka City. Moreover, a few in-depth interviews were carried out to provide case studies of life histories. Sixteen sites were visited in new Dhaka where female workers were largely visible. It was found that they all came from rural areas from different districts. Seventy two percent of the sample population (female labour) moving with male-headed households. More than three quarters 82.5% of these female migrants took any kind of job in Dhaka city as soon as possible. Out of these migrants more than half 58.5% directly joined the construction industry. Fifty five percent of women were married and moved with their husbands, 28% (28) left alone, 11 with their children or neighbors (34). The data revealed that 95% of the female migrants had previously moved within rural areas, largely associated with marriage. The majority of females ( both from the male headed and female headed households) were permanent migrants, they had no intention of returning to original home. Spatial flows from origin indicated that as migration distance increases the amount of female migration decreases. Forty seven percent of female worker migrate from Dhaka Division. Rajshahi and Chittagong Division, the furthest two areas from Dhaka City provide only 13.5% And 7.5% of the migrants respectively. The economic reasons related to  landlessness social reasons and natural disasters were found to have influenced their migration towards Dhaka. In analyzing impact on environment migrants’ health and living conditions were examined. The author concluded that due to continuing natural, political, economic and social crises, attitudes towards the purdah system have been changing. Consequently, female migration is increasing as women become involved in outdoor jobs like construction work.

Salma Islam, 1998 in her study examined “The changing gender related differentials in movement pattern of middle income working women in Dhaka City”. The author tried to explore the migration behavior and mobility pattern of three generation through three ages groups (below 30, 30 – 50 and 50 years) of middle income working women. A detailed questionnaire survey was carried out on seventy-five women, twenty-five from each survey area i.e. Azimpur, Moghbazar and Mohammadpur. The study revealed that nearly half (47.9) of the female migrants to Dhaka City are married. The distance between the brides natal and married homes vary from 1 mile to 200 miles. The women aged thirty to fifty tended to move longer distances at marriage than did women over fifty. The author opined that, now-a-days, spatial distance seems to be of less significance in arranging a marriage and distances of marriage migration is gradually becoming more than those in the past. Out of 27 unmarried migrants, 25.9% had migrated to the city along with their parents and 4 women of 30 – 50 age group (13.3%) had migrated to join husbands who were transferred to the city.

Migration for higher education indicated that Dhaka University played a vital role in educating young men and women. According to this study a considerable number of women had been graduated from this university. Because of its location, 6 women (22.2%) of the young group and 4 women (13.2%) of the 30-50 age group had to migrate to Dhaka for higher education. It helped them to become familiar with the scope of the job market within the city and finally to get a job after completion of education. The economic attraction particularly job seeking opportunity stimulated 4 women (14.8%) of the young group and 3 women (10% ) of the 30 – 50 age group to migrate to Dhaka City when they were unmarried.

The characteristics of the daily mobility pattern of women were also studied in that work. The average daily traveling distance between school and place of residence was 1.5 miles. But that distance extended to 2.4 miles in their college and university life. Thus during the college and university life, a girl’s activity space was greatly expanded. The level of higher education had expanded not only the daily traveling distance but also the frequency of travel. The study showed that the average distance traveled daily by the professional women overall was 3.2 miles, the range being from 1 to 9 miles found in the study. The author concluded that the pattern of long distance travel of middle income working women in Dhaka were both associational and autonomous.

Study entitled ‘Middle Income Women in Dhaka City: Gender and activity space’ was carried out by Salma Islam published in Oriental Geographer Vol.34, No. 1 and 2, 1995. The author had tried to explore the activity pattern and space of middle income working women in Dhaka City. In this study the author utilized the same data of the earlier work where the survey was conducted to the women of the three selected age groups (under 30, 30-50 and 50 age group). Seventy-five women were interviewed, twenty-five from each survey area (Azimpur, Moughbazar and Mohammadpur). In the introduction, Islam presented the definition of A.Q.M. Mahbub, 1991 in his study entitled ‘Mobility Behaviour of Working Women in Rural Bangladesh’ published in Oriental Geographer, Vol. 35 ( 1 and 2 ), showed the movement patterns of Bangladeshi Women in rural environment, Bangladesh had one of the lowest levels of female involvement in the labour force. In this study, some important households variables have been collected for all individuals (3162 population) and households were found within 14 villages located in three rural locations in Munshiganj, Comilla and Sariatpur districts in Bangladesh. In all the survey village females revealed a low propensity to move outside their location for work. Only 31 females were classed as movers, of whom 24 were circular migrants (3.11% ) and 7 were commuters (1.48%). The major findings that emerged from the study were – the families of female movers mostly came from economically poor environment. The socio-economic condition of the female movers was found to be slightly better as compared to that of the stayer female worker. Female movers preferred to migrate to urban centers rather than commute between or migrate to rural areas. The explanation of low incidence of mobility among rural women was primarily rooted in the females very low recognized participation in economic activities outside their homes. In rural setting, female participation in the civilian labor force was very much conditioned by the social environment. Females from socio-economic position were less likely to make a move for work.

Hugo Graeme (1990) was critical about the noticeable neglect about migration, particularly women-migration in less developed countries of the world. In his review work entitled ‘Migration of -women in less developed countries: A Review of Population Research Issues’ he made a clear and categorical observation. According to him, in population dynamics, the third important feature, namely migration was a neglected issue. While analyzing issues relating to migration in male dominated rural Africa, same trend became noticeable. But he observed that females were migrating more than males. Moreover, gender related migration had been existent also in the Asian Countries. Among the Asian Countries females in different age groups were more migratory than males in the Philippines. In the Central America and specially in the Caribbean Countries, it was observed that there was a high and stable trend of female migration from rural places. Though there were countries with different income status, yet the similar trend was noticeable. A few kinds of migratory trend are given below:

i.        Accompanying migration: In this case the women/girl leaves her country of origin together with the male head of the family.

ii.       Induced migration: In this case the migration of predominantly married or even single women is not a result of their own decisions but are imposed upon them in order to facilitate the exodus of other male members of the family.

iii.      Autonomous  migration:   This  type  of migration  represents  an individual decision and should be accounted for as a product of an emancipator process.

This residential background and experience of the women migrants have also been discussed in this-analyses.

i. Urban background:

In this case the subject has been born in a city or has had an extended stay in urban milieus prior to migration.

ii. Limited urban background:

Here migration to a town or city has been the first step in a two-phase out-migration process.

Familiarization with urban structures remains extremely limited and the rural lifestyle has still not been shed.

iii.      Rural background: In this case the migrant has no previous urban experience in the home country. This situation represents the most abrupt transition from peasant culture to urban culture.

He opined clearly, this typology also has considerable relevance in many contexts relating to internal migration of women. In this review, Hugo tried to depict a picture of internal female migration of least developed countries. The distance of migration, if increased, in four internal migration streams (rural-rural, rural-urban, urban-rural and urban-urban), the ratio between male and female increased very fast. In respect of migration from one state to other, the ratio between male and female was in favour of male till 1971. But in 1981, this ratio was transferred to women migrants. At that time the propensity of family migration in longer distance was revealed in this review.

In an unpublished thesis “International Female Migration of Bangladesh 1985-97: A Geographical Analysis” (Najmul Ahmed, 1998), the author opined that though males were more internally migrated than females but at present many Bangladeshi women migrated in different countries of the world avoiding their conservative social surroundings. In this study, 50 samples were collected only from Dhaka City. The data revealed that most of the migrants’ age were within 21-30 years. Among the respondents (female migrant) most were Muslims. Fifty four percent were married and thirty eight percent were unmarried at the time of their migration.

Seventy six percent of the respondents migrated alone. The purpose of their migration depicted a picture that 44% migrated for higher studies, 26% for employment and 10% living together with their husbands abroad. It was observed that higher studies, employment opportunities, higher standard of living etc. were the pull factors of Bangladesh female migrants. On the other hand, the push factors were under education system, lack of employment opportunities, low wages etc. According to him, there was an inter relationship between migrants’ age and the purpose of migration i.e. -32% female migrants’ age were within 21-40 years. There was a basic difference of migration stream at the time before and after 90’s. In early 90’s most of them migrated to U.K. (28.57%) and to Saudi Arabia (28.57%). But after 90’s, these places of destination could not hold their position in migration. In 1990 and 1994, 34.76% and 21.74% respectively migrated to USA and India. On the other hand, in 1995, 46.15% migrated to India. Besides, sixty percent respondents’ place of origin was in Dhaka City. Moreover, most of the female migrants went for higher studies (53.3%). Out of whom 68.18% female students were unmarried. The important information relating to socio-economic feature (employment, income and expenditure, remittance from abroad, purchase of property from earnings etc.) and their returns were examined.

A study of ‘Self financing Student Immigrants’ was conducted by B.Sc. (Hons.) students (Session 94-95) of Geography Department of Dhaka University under the supervision of Dr. A. Q. M. Mahbub, 1992-93 session. In this study, different aspects of self financing student-immigrants were examined. Primary data were collected and surveyed on the migrants’ families residing in different areas of Dhaka City. The secondary data were collected from the Ministry of Education, People’s

Republic of Bangladesh where NOC forms were preserved. Out of 4016 samples, 3069 were male (91.2%) and the rest (8.8%) were female. Their total number were 353 (8.8%). Most of the students were 15-17 age group. Besides, 262 samples were from the primary data. Among them, 88.93% were male 9233) and 11.07% were female students (24).

From the analysis, it was observed that in the year of 92-96, 51.72% females migrated to India. The 2nd highest was to USA 30.10%. During the period of 92 – 96, the total number of female student immigrants increased five times of the earlier. In 1996, 37.9% female students migrated for higher studies and it was the highest so far in Bangladesh.

Out of 29 female students 62.07% migrated for graduation degree after H.S.C. It is worth mentioning that 31.03% migrated to USA specially for graduation and M.Sc. degree. The place of origin of the female students are Magura (58.62%), Manikganj (6.9%), Narail (6.9%) and the rest are from the different districts. Their fathers were service holders (52.72%) and businessmen (47.28%).


In migration related studies, geographers are mainly concerned with spatial interaction and Arial differentiation between places of origin and destination. So, special and temporal analyses are essential in any research work on migration. In this study, a geographical analysis was conducted on female students who migrated to Dhaka for higher studies from different districts of Bangladesh. In this connection, a survey was carried out on female residential hostels to collect information on female students in higher studies. As no such data are documented any where in Bangladesh from the secondary data source, no information was available specially on female migration. Therefore, it was not possible to get a general picture of trend of internal female migration for higher studies. It may be mentioned here that those students who migrated for higher education involving at least four years’ duration and resided in residential hostels in Dhaka were treated as migrants for the purpose of the study. To meet the first objective of this study , data for regional pattern and the trend (92-93 and 96-97 session) of female migrant students has been collected from BBS data, the guard files of different university and college hostels and questionnaire survey of 173 sample resident students from different hostels. This has been analyzed on the basis of their place of origin.

World wide trends of higher education and women’ participation

UNESCO launched during early 1990’s a worldwide reflection exercise on main trend and challenges facing higher education. The working document of UNESCO, 1998 ‘Higher Education in the Twenty First Century Vision and Action’ shows that worldwide higher education served 82 million students in 1995. The growth was phenomenal over the last few decades. UNESCO’s projection for enrolment in higher education showed an increase in the number of students worldwide from 65 million in 1991 to 79 million in 2015 and 100 million by 2025. Projected enrolment in the developing countries also showed a strong increase: from 30 million students in 1991 to 40 million in the year of 2000, 50 million in 2015 and 54 million in 2025. Recent developments in higher education were diversed and often specific to regional, national and local context. UNESCO suggested that much progress occurred world wide in removing barriers to the enrolment of women in higher education. According to BBS in 1994, the number of female migrants in higher studies in Bangladesh was 72075.

UNESCO’s statistics showed that the percentage of women in the total student population in higher education increased from 34% in 1960 to 43% in 1980 and 45% in 1991. There were still noticeable differences between the major regions of the world. During 1991 the percentage of women students was 36% in South Asia, 33% in East Asia and 27% in Sub-Shahara Africa. In these areas where the female educational level continued to be far below the desired level, there should be a big thrust to raise female literacy and educational level as fast as possible.

According to BBS data, during 1992-93 session there were 7292 (6712+580) female students enrolled in Dhaka University ad BUET. Out of which 470 (6.49%) migrated from different districts of Bangladesh. In 1997, the number of female migrant students went up to 592(8.1%). To investigate the trend and pattern of their mobility, all female residential students from 92-93 and 96-97 session from Dhaka University, BUET and Dhaka Medical College, a total of 1062 were taken as sample population. Out of this 470 female students (44.25%) were in 92-93 session and 592 students were (55.75%) in 96-97 session who migrated to Dhaka for higher education from different districts of Bangladesh. The analysis of Table-3.6 indicates that altogether 79.94% of these students (849) are residing in Dhaka University. Out of this 849 students i.e.43.93% were in 1992 – 93 session and 56.06% were in 1996 – 97 session migrated to Dhaka. On the other hand, Dhaka Medical College stood in the 2nd position, with 135 (12.80%) female students. Forty-nine decimal six two percent came in 1992 – 93 session and 50.37% in 1996 -97 session. Moreover, comparatively a smaller number of female students only 78 (7.34%) migrated to study in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Out of these 78 students, 30 came during 92-93 session and 48 came during 96-97 session.

Table- :   Number of female migrants

Year of admission






Dhaka Medical








































Source: Guard file survey, 1992-93 and 1996-97 session

Table-: Number of female migrant students by faculty /Institute for higher education in Dhaka, 92-93 and 96-97 session

Faculty /Institute

Number of female migrant student 92-93 session


Number of female migrant students


Arts Faculty





Science Faculty





Business and commerce





Fine art and sculptures




















Source : Guard file survey, 1992-93 to 1996-97

The number of female student migrants by faculty/Institute of the two session (92 – 93 and 96 – 97) is shown in Table-3.7. Out of 849 female migrants of Dhaka University, the highest number of female students 561 (52.73%) were enrolled in Arts Faculty. Out of them 23.6% and 29.1% female students were enrolled in 92 – 93 and 96 – 97 session respectively. A total of 214(24.14%) female students migrated for studying in Science Faculty of Dhaka University in the two sessions. Their proportion rate was comparatively lower. On the other hand, 58 (5.45%) and 16(2.1%) female students studied in Commerce, Fine Arts and Sculpture. One hundred thirty five (12.7%) female students migrated to study in Medical Science. There were no significant difference found in the proportion rate of two sessions among the three faculties. Besides, 78 (7.3%) students studied in BUET in 1992-93 and 96-97 session. In 1996-97 session had 18 more female students than in the session of 92-93. It should be mentioned here that when total number students by faculty are checked the arts faculty students are bigger in number.

 Place of origin of female migrants: Rural-Urban variations

Rural – urban origin of the female student migrants is presented in Table-3.8. In 92-93 session 54.68% female students were of urban origin against 45.32% female students of rural origin who migrated to Dhaka for higher studies. On the other hand, in 1996-97 session 51.85% students were of urban origin against 48.15% female students of rural area. This indicates a small rise of women coming from rural areas

Table- : Female Student migrants of Dhaka City: Places of Origin (Rural /Urban.


Source : Guard file survey, 1992-93 to 1996-97

Table- Place of Origin of female migrants: Rural-Urban variations



Chittagong H.T.3471.19

Source: Guard file survey, 1992-93 to 1996-97.

In the two sessions out of 493 female students of rural origin, most of the students i.e. 83 came from Dhaka district followed by Faridpur and Jessore districts (table 3.9 and map-1). These two districts sent 54 and 48 female students from rural origin. Chittagong and Patuakhali districts sent female students to Dhaka for higher education 5 and 4 students respectively. Only three female students of rural origin from Chittagong Hill Tracts came to Dhaka.

On the other hand, out of 561 students of urban origin once, again Dhaka district sent the largest number of female students (163) followed by Mymensingh and Comilla districts with 42 and 41 female students respectively.. The lowest number of female students (8) of urban area origin came from Dinajpur to Dhaka for higher studies. Faridpur, Jessore, Barisal and Khulna districts sent comparatively large students from rural origin than urban areas. It is clear that the number of female students increased from rural areas than from urban areas with the passage of time. The gap between the rural-urban literacy rate of female students in higher studies is becoming narrower.

Female Student Migration: Division wise

The principle objective of this study is to analyze the regional pattern of female students’ migration to Dhaka for higher education. A total of 1054 female students in two sessions were presented division wise for this purpose-on the basis of administrative set up, Bangladesh is broadly divided into six major divisions – Dhaka, Chittagong, Barisal, Khulna, Rajshahi and Sylhet. Based on these divisions, a broad regional pattern of female students is presented in Table-3.10 and map-2.

Table-: Female students migrated to Dhaka for higher education by division: 92-93, 96-97 session

 of female of female   
 students student   
 92-93 96-97   

Source : Guard file survey, 1992-93 to 1996-97.

According to table 3.10, most of the students migrated from the Dhaka division followed by Khulna division. The number of female students from these two divisions were 491 (46.58%) and 177 (16.79%) respectively. Thus, a total of 668 female students (63.37%) out of 1054 migrated from these two divisions. The percentage of migrants from Rajshahi and Chittagong divisions were 14.23% and 12.52% respectively. Besides, a small number of female students from Sylhet division migrated to Dhaka followed by Barisal division. The total number of female students were 104 (83 +21) from these two divisions. The percentage of these divisions were low (9.86%.)

Migrants District of Origin:

District of origin is an important indicator in understanding the geographical pattern and the condition of the source region (Hossain, Shahnaz Huq, 1997). Bangladesh consisted of 21 greater districts according to the 1981 census. Female students of different districts of origin were presented in table-3.11, map-3 &.4.

Different Hostels

DistrictsDhaka UniversityBUETDhaka MedicalTotal

Source : Guard file survey, 1992-93 to 1996-97.

It has been observed from previous table that Dhaka district sent 246 female students to the Metropolitan Dhaka for higher studies. It was noticed that 123 female students from each session migrated from Dhaka district. Out of which (246), 175 female students studied in Dhaka University, 30 in BUET and 41 in Dhaka Medical College. The total number of female migrants of Dhaka district from these three institutes were the highest in number. A total of 307 female students for higher studies sent to Dhaka from greater Mymensingh (85), Jessore (78), Khulna (73) and Comilla (71) districts. The number of female students migrated from these greater districts were more or less similar in the two sessions. Besides this, districts of northern region – Bogra, Dinajpur, Rajshahi and Rangpur sent a total of 150 female students to the capital. The total number of the female students of the above districts was slightly increased in 1996 – 97 session. Greater Chittagong and Noakhali sent 54 female students (27 from each district). Moreover, greater Barisal and Faridpur sent 135 (69 + 66) female students to Dhaka. Only 7 students migrated from Chittagong H.T. The speciality of these analysis was most of the students of different districts of origin migrated for studying in Dhaka University. Dhaka Medical and BUET accommodated a small number of female migrants.

Regional Pattern of Female student Migration: On the basis of questionnaire survey

The analyses of 173 sample population in Table-3.12, map-5 & 6 reveals that a total of 26 female students migrated from greater Dhaka district for studying in different Institutions. Out of which, 16 female students who migrated from different areas of Dhaka district to study in Dhaka University. The next positions were occupied by greater Mymensingh (17), Comilla (15), and Barisal (13) districts.

Table-: Regional Pattern of Female students for higher education Different Halls

Place of originDhaka University HallsBUETMedical HostelCollegesPrivate HostelTotal
Chittagong H.T
Chittagong 2 1 5
Comilla7223 14
Noakhali2 21  
Sylhet2  215
Jamalpur51 28
Barisal7222 13
Jessore614 11
Khulna7122 12
Kustia21 137
Bogra41  16
Dinajpur11 2 4
Pabna1 14 6
Rajshahi1231 5
Rangpur122  5

Source : Questionnaire survey, 1999

Twenty four female students (12 from each district) came to Dhaka from Faridpur and Khulna districts. Rangpur, Patuakhali, Noakhali and Chittagong sent 25 female students (five from each district) to Dhaka for higher higher studies. Only one female student from Tangail district came to study in Dhaka University. It was noticed that none of the female student migrated from Bandarban and Chittagong H.T.

It was found from the above two analysis that the results of these two sources are nearly similar. Dhaka district sent a large number of female students for higher studies. Mymensingh district held its 2nd position in both the survey.

On the basis of the findings of this study, it may be inferred that as migration distance increases, the amount of female student migration for higher studies decreases. This observation can be proved by the fact that the internal student migration of the sample population was particularly high from adjacent areas within Dhaka Division (46.58%). On the other hand, the districts of Rajshahi and Chittagong Divisions, the three areas are furthest from Dhaka sent comparatively less female students. Chittagong Division, the areas furthest from Dhaka sent comparatively less female students.

Female student migrants places’ of birth

Female student migrants’ places of birth is represented in map-7. It displays that the highest number of female students (11) birth place was Kishoreganj district followed by Narshingdi (9) and Dhaka (8) district. Once again the distance decay pattern was noticed.

 Demographic Characteristics And Socio-Economic Status: Female Migrants And Their Families

The characteristics of migrants are the most significant determinants in any kind of migration work. This research work has been done on the female students who migrated to Dhaka city for higher education. One hundred seventy three female students of different residential hostels (such as Dhaka University, BUET, DMC, three University colleges and private Hostels) were taken as sample population. The demographic characteristics of these students were given below:

Age Pattern

Age is an influencing factor in the migration process of female students. UNFPA, 1993 stated that female migrants were concentrated particularly in the 16-24 years age group before first marriage and commonly made their first move while still in their teens.

Table-4.1: Age structure of the Female student migrants

Age structureDhaka UniversityBUETMedicalColleges & Private HostelsTotal


Age Before

mig (%)



Age Before mig.Present


Age Before




Age before


Present ageAge before mig.Present age

Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999

The age structure of the female student migrants showed in Table-4.1 that young females dominated this migration stream.

A very high proportion of the respondents 95.94% (166 ) made their first move to Dhaka city for higher education belong to 16-19 age group. However, it should be remembered that the university students are expected to be in 16-24 age group.

This may be explained in the light that age at time of migration for higher education are closely related to migration decision and the educational levels of female migrants. The students who migrated for higher studies after completing their secondary level education belong to 15-19 years age group. The age after migration was fully dependant on duration of their study period. A total of 65.85% (114) female students belonged to 20-23 and 24-27 adult age groups at present time. Their duration of staying was probably 2-4 years. Only 4.61% were >27 years age group at present time. They were mostly M.Phil students.

Marital Status:

Regarding marital status, it has been noticed that all the sample of female population (173) were unmarried. A large proportion of whom 75% had given their full preference on own choice for their marriage, only 25% willing to give priority on parents’ decision. Besides, another question on the proper age of marriage, 80% of female students answered, 23-25 years as the most proper time to get married. In fact, marital status hampered the educational life of female students.

Religion Pattern:

Table- : Religion pattern of the female student migrants Religion

Dhaka University









Dhaka Medical




Colleges and Private hostels













Source : Questionnaire survey, 1999

Religious affiliation is a most important social indicator. In this country. Majority people are Muslims. It reveals from the primary data that a total of 84.39% female student migrants were Muslim, out of those, 40.46% were Dhaka University students. Besides, 15.02% were Hindu. These students were proportionately higher than other residential students (4.62%). Only one Buddhist students of Dhaka University was found in the questionnaire survey.

Table-: Religion pattern of the female student migrants

































Source : Guard file survey, 1992-93 to 1996-97 session.


Similar pattern was found from the guard file survey. In 1992 to 1993 session out of 470 female students, 404 (85.96%) were Muslims, 60 (12.76%) were Hindu, 5 (1.06%) were Buddhist. On the other hand, in 1996-97 session 505 (85.30%) were Muslims, 45(12.67%) were Hindu and 11 (1.86%) were Buddhist. Only 2 female students in the two sessions were Christian session. It was noticed that the majority of the

female students were Muslim.

Family structure of female student migrants by rural-urban origin:

Family structure of the female migrants was analyzed Table-5 by single family and joint family. Out of 173 students of primary survey, 12.71% students were from joint families and 87.20% from single families. Out of 82 students of Dhaka University, 66 were from single families. Fourteen students were from joint families of rural origin. Only 2 students of Dhaka University from joint families of urban origin. Besides, no student of BUET came from joint family in rural and urban areas. Two students of DMC and 4 female students of colleges and four private hostels came from joint families and rest were from single family.

Educational qualification of household heads of female migrants:

Educational qualification of heads of the households of female migrants in higher studies is presented in table-4.5. It could be seen from the analysis that none of the head of the households was below S.S.C. or S.S.C. level of student migrants of BUET and Medical Colleges. Two heads of the households of the of the residents of private hostels were found below S.S.C. level. Besides, 16 head of the households of female students of Dhaka University were below S.S.C. and S.S.C. levels. Most of the heads of the households were Masters and graduate degree holders. Their percentage was 26.57% and 24.58% respectively. A total of 44 head of the households were found below S.S.C., S.S.C. and H.S.C. levels. The proportions of these three levels educational qualification were 5.2% ,7.5% and 12.71% respectively.

Table – : Educational qualification of Heads of the family

Educational Qualification

Female Students of Different HostelsNon MetricS.S.CH.S.CB.A/B.S.C/B. Com GraduateMastersP.hDTotal
Dhaka University91112371482
Medical and BUET  2211841
College and private hostels 28251550
%5.207.5112.7124.8526.58 100%

Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999

Educational Qualification: Mothers of Female migrants

Table-4.6  shows that the highest 29.478% mothers  of female student migrants passed S.S.C. level. Twenty three point twelve percent mothers got H.S.C. degree and 6.35% mothers were graduate. The lowest 0.57% mothers had their post graduation degree whereas percentages of illiterate and below S.S.C. passed mother was as 11.56% and 28.90% respectively. There was no illiterate or below S.S.C. passed mother of BUET or medical students.

Table-: Educational qualification: Mothers of female student migrants

Different hostels

Mother’s EducationDhaka


BUET and MedicalCollegesTotal%
Below S.S.C277165028.90
Post Graduate110.57

Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999

It is clear from the analysis that approximately 89 ( 43 Graduate + 46 Masters ) female students came from the highly educated families, 34 (21 + 13 ) from medium educated families and 7 from half literate families.

Occupation of the Heads of household:

Education and occupation were related inseparably. Table–presents that out of 173 students, 32.94% ( 57 ) family heads were in administrative jobs followed by business and teaching professions. The percentage of these two professions were 24.27% ( 48 ) and 18.49% ( 32 ) respectively. Besides, professional jobs ( medical, Engineering and farming), law and journalism occupied 15.02% and 5.7% ).

Table-  : Occupation of Heads of the household


Female Students ofBusiness TeachingProfessionalOthersTotal
Dhaka University25221693 5282
Medical and BUET5178 551 41
College and private18188 131150

Source : Questionnaire survey, 1999

In this study, 9 head of the households were found in farming occupation. No head of the household of female migrant students of Dhaka University was found in engineering profession. Similarly, none of the head of the household were in Journalism profession and Farming found in BUET, Medical and colleges Private hostels respectively. The fact was that the expenditure of the colleges and private hostels were too high. Thus, the head of the households who were engaged in farming, the expenditure of higher education was preferably beyond their capacity.

A study of Shamina Islam ( 1977 ) on the socio-economic background of Dhaka University students mentioned that as compared to boys, very few girls came from farming background. It is similar to the above analysis.

Income of the heads of house holds:


Female studentBellow 2,0002001-4001-6,001-8,001-10,001-12,000
of differentTk.4,0006,0008,00010,00012,000Tk.
hostel Tk.Tk.Tk.Tk.Tk. 
Dhaka University2725201477
BUET and  2712515
Colleges and 1101014510
private hostels       

Source : Questionnaire survey, 1999.


Out of 173 female students, 40 ( 23.12% ) head of the households of female migrants were in Tk. 8001 – 10,000 income range. Seventy four (21.38% + 21.38% ) family head of the female student migrants earned Tk. 6001 – 8000 and Tk. 4001 – 6000 taka range of income. Besides, the income range of Tk. 2001 – 4000 and below 2000 taka included 12 ( 1.15% + 4.6%)female migrants’ head of the households. A total of 49 (18.49% + 9.8% ) family heads’ earning range was Tk. 10,000 – 12,000 and above. It was found from the analysis that a total of 32 female students came from higher income families. Approximately 57 students from higher middle income families (range 8001 – 10,000 and 10,001 – 12,000 ) and 74 female migrants from middle income families, 10 came from lower income families (range Tk.2001 -4000 and >Tk.2000).

Mobility Pattern And Activity Space Of    Female Student Migrants In Higher Education

The pattern of female migration rates and causes vary significantly from region to region and over time (Salma Islam, 1995). The decision to move is a highly complex process involving a variety of personal constraints conditioned by cultural values and personal motivation. The extent of women’s activity space also varies by culture and region. Johnston (1986) defined activity space as “the space in which the majority of an individual’s activities are carried out. It usually consists of distinct points, i.e. it is discontinuous, and can be mapped either as a point pattern or a time-space diagram”. Mazey and Lee, 1983 opined that during a woman’s life course, the area of her activity space increases through childhood and usually reaches its greatest extent during her productive years. In rural Bangladesh mobility and employment opportunities of women have traditionally been restricted. Their movement is traditionally confined within their household territories. Even then the perimeter of female space in rural Bangladesh has been expanding in recent years, as consequences of socio-economic changes related to increasing landlessness and impoverishment (Bimal Kanti Paul, 1992). In this chapter, mobility pattern and activity space of female student migrants in higher education: on the basis of the location of their educational Institutions have been identified. The activity space has also been analyzed through generations i.e. through place of higher studies of mothers.

Changing pattern of mobility:

The movement of the students to the areas to be educated represents, for many, the first significant break with the extended family and may be regarded as perhaps the initial stage in their life cycle of migration (Chadwell, 1969 ). The focus essentially had been given in this study on the structural characteristics of movement, that is, the volume, distance, direction and timing. There is a strong tendency for the number of migrations to fall with increasing distance concern with geographers.

During their school and college life:

Table-: Mobility Pattern of female students: On the basis of locations and institutions(School/Colleges)

Same town/ Village(staymg with father and mother)No. of Female studentsPercentageNo. of female studentsPercentage
Other town42.313419.65
Total173 173 

Source : Questionnaire survey, 1999

It reveals from the Table-5.1 that during their school life, out of 173 female student migrants, 169 (97.68%) resided with their parents in their places of residence and completed their school level education at those places. Besides, 4 (2.31%)female students completed their school level education in another town and had no opportunities staying with their parents. On the other hand, during their college life, a total of 139 (80.34%)female students studied at the places of origin and 34 (19.65%)female students studied in different towns.

Table-: Place of Residence and the location of schools to another town.

Place of ResidenceLocation of schoolNumber
ThakurgaonMymensingh Cadet1
NarayangonjTangail    (Bharates-shari Homes)1
KhulnaMymensingh Cadet1

Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999

Distance traveled for school and college purpose (same place)

The daily traveling pattern and activity space of female students during their school and college life have been attempted to be identified. Among the students (166) who went to school and colleges in the same place of residence, 8 students travelled daily 3-3.22 K.M. from their place of residence to attend their school within same places

Table-: Distance between the place of residence and the school/college of own place.

DistanceNo. of female studentsDistanceNo. of female students
 No.% No.%
 166  107 

Mean distance of school =1.0 KM Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999.

Mean distance of college = 2.5 KM

The daily traveling pattern and activity space of female students during their school and college life have been attempted to be identified. Among the students (166) who went to school and colleges in the same place of residence, 7 students traveled daily 3-3.22 K.M. from their place of residence to attend their school within same places. Their average daily traveling distance was 1.00 K.M. The distance of .25 K.M and .5 K.M between the places of residence and schools of same village / town traveled daily by 54 (27+28) female students. During their college life, a total of 107 female students, on an average daily traveling college distance of same place (village/town) was 2.5 K.M. The longest distance for college purpose (3.22 K.M.) was traveled by only 13 (12.14%) students while the 2nd longest distance (2.5 K.M.) was traveled by 12 (11.2%) and the shortest distance (0.80 K.M.) was covered by 22 (20.56%). 1.6 K.M. distance covered by the highest number of students 23 (21.41%).Thus altogether distance decay pattern is not followed strictly similar trend is noticeable. Salma Islam, 1998 in her study opined that the daily traveling pattern and minimum activity space of a school girl depends on how far away her school is located. The average distance had to travel by all students were nearly the same.

Distance between place of residence and the school/college (village to town)

Table-: Distance between the place of residence and the School/ College: Village to Thana/District town.




Number of female student


Number of female student

Total3 32

Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999.

Students traveling to other towns for education shows in table 5.4. The highest daily traveling distance traveled by a female migrant in her school life was 8 K.M. One student traveled by 6.8 K.M. and another traveled 4.8 K.M approximately from village to thana town. These students traveled these distances to attend a better school than the near by one. During their college life, the highest distance of 12.8 K.M. was traveled daily by a female student followed by 6 and 5.6 K.M. distance from village to thana town. These two distance were traveled by 16 (7+9) female students to attend college.

Though the transport facilities had made it easy for school girls to expand their mobility patterns and activity space in urban areas found in Islam’s study (1998 ) but most of the parents wanted to enroll their daughter at the nearest school of their residence. It may be mentioned that the female students of urban origin (Thana/District town) had some educational facilities. It is the main factor of their movement from village to Thana town.

Destination from the place of residence for college education: Another town

Table-: Destination from place of residence for college education.

Place of Residence

Place of destination


Place of Residence

Place of destination


JhenidahJessore1Dhaka (Sonarg aon, Dhamrai)Dhaka3
NarshingdiDhaka3Total 34

Source : Questionnaire survey, 1999

A total of 34 female students moved to other town during their college life and most of them resided in the college adjacent hostels, these students took the better opportunities of higher education.

Out of these 34 students 21 students from 13 different districts moved to Dhaka City during their higher secondary school period. Besides, 9 students moved to another districts to attend their colleges. These students further moved to Dhaka City for higher education. In other words, the typology followed by these female students was called step migration.

It may be stated from the above analysis that those female students whose educational environment and infra structural opportunities of school and colleges were not satisfactory at their place of origin, moved to another city for enrolment. Although their mobility were more or less restricted by their parents. But once a girl cross the school level boundary she had been given more preference to attend the distant colleges. And further these aspiration might push them to Dhaka City for higher education. Thus, the activity space of a college student is greater than that of a school girl.

Mobility pattern of female migrants in higher studies:

With the admission of female students into higher studies, the mobility pattern and activity space of migrants reached its highest level

On the basis of geographical and administrative set-up, Bangladesh is broadly divided into four major regions: Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi Divisions. These are also designated as central, eastern, southern and northern regions respectively (United Nations, 1981:30). Based on these divisions, movement pattern of female students from their places of origin to Dhaka can be analyzed by distance, time, mode of transport and expenditure. It showed that 4 female students from northern region specially Dinajpur, Thakurgaon and Panchagor traveled the highest distance by road/train 499-419 K.M.(by road). The traveling time is 7-9 hours and the cost of transport is 250-300 taka. A student of Panchagor district traveled the highest distance 499 K.M out of 173 female student migrants traveled by bus. Her traveling time was 10 hours and transport cost was 250 taka. Twenty five students of other northern region districts traveled 161-396 K.M., their travelling time and cost were 30-8 hours and 100 – 300 taka respectively. A female student of BUET migrated from Nilphamari (Place of origin) traveled 396 K.M. within 7:30 hours and her transport cost was 300 taka. Besides, Table- reveals that 48 female student migrants of southern region traveled 201 – 393 K.M. The time consumed by these road distance was 3:30-8 hours and the transport cost was 200-350 taka, Most of these students traveled by bus and their break of journey was at Aricha-Daulatdia Ferry ghat. The break of time of these place was 1-1:30 hours.

On the other side, 11 female students of south eastern region (Noakhali and Chittagong) traveled 191-264 K.M. distance by road and 346 K.M. by train. The time consumed by this road was 3-6 hours and traveling cost was 100-300 taka. These route had a few minutes brake of journey. Twenty female students of eastern region traveled 102-278 K.M. distance by road. Their travelling time was 3-9 hours and the cost was 150-300 taka.

Fifteen students of Comilla district travelled 102-169 K.M. Some of the students of greater Comilla district (Chandpur) travelled more easily by river route also.

65 students of central region traveled comparatively shorter distance 17-174 K.M. Their travelling time was 1:30-6 hours and the cost was 20-250 taka. These are the adjacent districts of Dhaka City. It is natural to observe most of the students migrated from these districts to Dhaka for higher studies. It was noticed that 26 female students of Dhaka district traveled 17-52 K.M. within 1-2:30 hours with 20-33 Taka. Though their travelling time, distance and cost were less but they enjoyed the residential facilities of different institutions and were not interested in daily travelling. This observation proved twice by the fact that most of the female students migrated from adjacent areas within Dhaka Division or from the nearest districts. As distance of migration increased the amount of female students’ migration decreased. Thus, distance and transport facilities played the strong influence on the volume of internal female migration towards Dhaka City for higher education. Besides, the over all educational environment in different districts were not less significant.

A schematic representation of female student migrants’ activity space has been made adapting Bimal Kanti Paul’s Model:

Bimal Kanti Paul (1992) in his study on ‘Female Activity Space in Rural Bangladesh’ opined that though the neighborhood boundary generally determines the extent of female space in rural Bangladesh, the area may vary in size according to a women’s status, age and religion as well as the geographical location and size of neighborhood.

He found that space for women who live in urban fringe areas should be longer than overall female space. In the previous study, it has been observed that activity space of a female student of rural origin, increasing with the time and educational level (Fig.4.)

1. Space of women of rich and religious families/young wives.

2. Overall female spaces.

3. Space of elderly/Hindu/poor women.

4. Male space/space of tribal women

Bari boundary

Neighborhood boundary

Village boundary

Adapting Paul’s activity space model, diagrams are drawn to identify activity space of the two groups on the basis of average distance covered to go to school, college and the University. During 1991-94 average distance between permanent residence and school was 7.95 K.M. while average distance between permanent residence and college was 24.72 K.M. and average distance between permanent residence and University was 214.68 K.M.

On the other hand during 1995-98 average distance between permanent residence and school was 5.86 K.M. while the average distance between permanent residence and college was 20.42 K.M. and the University was 205.83 K.M.

The average traveling distance during their school/college and university life in the year of early period 91-94 and later period 1995-98 was nearly the same. It should be mentioned that the distance traveled by the female students of later period 1995-96 slightly decreased. The female students migrants of this two years were within the same decade, this might be the main reason behind their approximately average traveling distance (school, college and institution of higher studies. Moreover the distance mentioned here could be inaccurate. As they were estimation by the students.

Information about female student migrants’ close relatives (Mother and aunt) who came to Dhaka for higher studies

Table-: Female student Migration: Close relation (Mother/Aunt) information about their education and employment.

of Education      
Mother1 12   1 1  1    
Aunt32  3 2212211  I 
Total9212352313211  1 

Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999.

*        Mother- Dhaka University and BUET Female students

*        Ant- 4 of Dhaka University., 2 of BUET, 1 of Medical 3 of Colleges female Students

Table-5.7 indicates that two mother got higher education (i.e. graduation and post graduation degree). They passed during the year 75-80. One of them passed from Dhaka University and the other from a college. So their activity space for education was much smaller than their daughters’.

The number 9, 2 and 1 of female student migrants’ aunts completed their graduation (pass), graduation (Hon.) and post graduation degree respectively. Five of them migrated between the year of 1986-90. During 1976-80, its number was 2. Seven aunts studied at different colleges. Two of them were Dhaka University students. The number of aunts who engaged themselves in employment were 5. Two of them took govt. job, 2 aunts took teaching and one in medical profession. Only one of female student migrants migrated to abroad with her husband.

Nature of movement

Figure 5.2: Presented the nature of movement of female student migrants. It was noticed that migration alone means those persons who migrated alone from their place of origin to destination with different motives (education, occupation, staying with parents, husband, etc.). In the case of the present study, it was found that migration at first to Dhaka for higher education 100% accompanied with someone (most of them with father/head of the household). On the other hand, afterwards 98% migrants moved alone from their place of residence to destination alone. Thus, a women with higher education usually become independent in movement. This type of migration may be classified as autonomous migration.


Visits: Contacts with the place of Residence:

Table-: Frequent time of visit to the migrants residence

Less than 3 months549112710161.96
After 6 months
One times in a year 

Source : Questionnaire survey, 1999

Out of 163 female students of Dhaka University, BUET, DMC and selected college hostels, 99.99% traveled their place of residence every 3 months (Table-5.9). But the visits usually are relatively short duration.

Freedom of Mobility: Place of origin /destination:

Female with higher education usually had more freedom of movement (table 5.10). Their freedom of mobility could be divided into three categories: no freedom in the past or now, freedom not existed in the past and but exists now, freedom in the past and now.

Place of origin

Freedom of mobility at the place of residence

Dhaka University


Dhaka Medical















No freedom in the past or now94112241323.21109.34
Freedom not existed in the past and but exists now1211 527882239.283128.97
Freedom in the past & now143214 97112137.516661.68

* Excluded private hostels

Source : Questionnaire survey, 1999

Out of 87 female students of Dhaka University migrants, most of the students of rural origin had freedom in the past and now. On the other hand, 14.11% (23) responded that they had no freedom in the past and now, students of rural area of origin supported these type of movement at their place of origin. Besides, 32.51% (53) responded that the freedom not existed in the past but exists now. These might be the consequences of changing social environment and the changed attitude of their parents, when the female students enrolled in higher studies.

Freedom of mobility at their place of destination had been presented in table .Out of these 163 female migrants 73.61% felt secured to move within Dhaka city (place of destination), and 26.38% responded not to move safely. Security was the main problem of their movement within Dhaka city.

Factors compelling/ encouraging the Female Student Migration for Higher Education towards Dhaka:

The factors involve attractive or repulsive roles between the causes of mobility and their effects. The forces may either be attractive or repulsive by depending on a person’s characteristics, his/her demands, propensity and desirability or preference. Thus, the forces are totally interrelated, their analyses and judgment cannot be done individually. Lee. 1966 divided that-forces exerting an influence on migrant perception into ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ factors. ‘Push’ factors always play a negative role tending to force migrants to leave origin areas. On the other hand, ‘pull’ factors treated as positive factors attracting migrants to place of destinations. The factors that interested a person to migration should be analyzed very acutely in any research work of migration. In this manner, the factors acting as positive or negative roles between the place of origin and destination have been investigated.


Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999

Table-5.11 represents the compelling factors of female student migration, in other words push factors. It had been found that lack of scope of higher education was the main cause of their migration. Out of 176 answers of the respondents, 96 (54.54%) supported this factor followed by no scope for studying in spacious environment. This factor occupied 2nd position with 67 answers (38.06%) and only 12 answers of the respondents were given no scope for participating in social and cultural activities. Moreover, the factors were analysed with the districts of origin of the female migrants. The highest answers of the female students of Comilla origin (12) stated on the factors of no scope of higher education, 2nd highest 10 answers of the female students of Barisal responded this factors. Besides, 5 answers of the female respondents of Dhaka district (outside from the Metropolitan City) responded no scope for participating in social and cultural activities. Sixteen answers of female students of Dhaka gave their opinions on no scope for studying in a wider space at their places of origin.


Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999.


Out of 360 answers of the respondents, 143 (39.72%) answers of the female students opined the scope for higher education similar with the first compelling factors. The highest 24 and 14 answers of the Dhaka and Mymensingh female students respectively responded this factor. Sixty two (17.22 answers from the respondents wanted for getting improved and greater opportunities for education. To be well established in life or having better opportunities in future, 55 (15.27%) answers of the respondents stated their opinion on this factors. Out of these 55 answers, 16 answers of the female students of Dhaka district gave their views also. 42 (11.66%) answers of the respondents stated the eagerness to study in BUET, Dhaka University and Dhaka Medical College in these reputed institutions. Seven answers of the female students of Barisal gave their opinion. The other factors were- getting freedom of mobility, scope for studying in choice able subject, scope for social and cultural activities, to uplift standard of living and adjacent areas from their places of origin, a total of 58 (2.77%+6.38%+2.24%+2.5%+2.22%) answers were stated by the female students for these factors.

In the present situation of Bangladesh, the lack of good educational environment and infra-structural facilities were found almost in 21 districts. Moreover, location of institute for higher studies are totally unbalanced. For these reasons, the percentage of female enrolment for higher studies are comparatively lower. The female students’ mobility is more or less restricted outside their place of origin at present time also. The scope of study in wider space for female students was not developed in this country. Most of the facilities were centered and developed within Dhaka-capital base. These might have pushed them for higher education. Therefore, the propensity rate of the female students to move to Dhaka City is much higher for these compelling and encouraging factors.

Table-:Nature of Future Profession of Female students Migrants:


haka University






Nature of profession      
a. Govt. employment411116158350.92
b. Private/NGO113 102414.72
c. Self employment/Business2  353.06
d. Teaching13  51811.04
e. Higher education126573018.40
f. Others3   31.84
Total- 7 Professions82202140163100

Source: Questionnaire survey, 1999.

Table: Female students Resident after leaving Academic Hostel

Institute Residence







Relative residence

Working Women29154429.53
Rental house391416118053.69

Source : Questionnaire survey, 1999.

Future Plan

The total of 173 female residential students, 149 female students willing to stay in Dhaka permanently after completing their higher studies and 24 could not take decision staying or not to staying in Dhaka. It depends on their parents’ decision (table-5.13). Out of these 149 students, 53.69% (80) gave their opinion to stay in rental houses, 29.53% (44) students in Working Women Hostel. Only 16.77% gave opinion to stay with their close relatives.

Nature of future profession:

A higher educated person has diversified professional opportunities (table-5.14). The highest 50.92% students wanted govt. job as their future profession. It was the first preference of female students of the selected educational institutions. It is clear that govt. employment is the most secured job for women rather than NGO and private firms. Even than 14.72% students wanted to take these job as their future professions. Only 5 female students of Dhaka University wanted to take the challenges of business/self employment. The truth comes out from the analysis that the field and prospects of female students in private NGOs still are not developed largely. Besides, 18.40% (30) students gave their willing to study abroad.

It is noticed that the thoughts and ambitions of female students changed day by day. A literature of Ronnak Jahan and Hanna Papanek (1979) stated that lack of modern education is one of the major barriers into female participation in decisions making and monitized sector of the economy. Conclusion may be drawn from this point of view that higher education is perceived as the avenues to a better life and a more prosperous future.


Education is an important indicator of migration selectivity. The decision to move is a highly complex process involving a variety of personal constraints influenced by socio-economic condition, cultural values and personal motivation. Education seems to be a feasible factor for the female migration within Bangladesh. A Geographical analysis of female migration towards Dhaka for Higher Education has been carried out in this study. Therefore, this study looks into the primary step of internal migration and mobility and activity space for higher education. There has not been any analysis conducted on gender wise internal migration for higher education and as such, no nation wide data has been available. Thus female migration for education purpose is relatively under researched in Bangladesh. The enrolment of female student in higher education has been increasing gradually. The women besides men from different district of Bangladesh migrated to Dhaka for higher education.

The research work has been conducted to acquire knowledge on the female students migrated to Dhaka from different districts for higher studies on different aspects. The objectives taken to carry out this research work are -analyzing the trend (92-93 and 96-97 session) and regional pattern of female internal migration came to Dhaka for higher education, examine demographic characteristics and socio-economic status of female migrants and their families, examine the mobility pattern and activity space of female student migration through generations. To carry out this research work, data has been collected from two sources. To investigate the over all background of female migrants in two session 1992-93 and 1996-97, data are collected from the different residential hostels by guard files. The migrant’s educational information and their place of origin (rural and urban residence) were collected from the guard files / These students migrated to Dhaka for higher education from different districts of Bangladesh. Out of 1062, 470 female students (44.25%) were in 1992-93 session and 592 students were (55.75%) in 96-97 session migrated to Dhaka for higher education. The number of students slightly increased (11.5%) in 96-97 session. It has been noticed that comparatively a smaller number students come to BUET. On the basis of faculty or Institution, it reveals that, the large proportion of female student migrant 52.73% (561) enrolled in Arts Faculty of Dhaka University

It is found from the regional pattern of female student migration that 564 (53.10%) female students were of urban origin as against 498 (46.89%) female students of rural origin migrated to Dhaka for higher education in the two sessions. The gaps between the rural-urban literacy rate of female students in higher studies is becoming narrower. Faridpur, Jessore, Barisal and Khulna districts sent comparatively large number of students from rural origin than from urban origin.

The division wise students migration pattern indicates that out of 1062, most of the female students migrated from the Dhaka Division, 491

(46.58%) 2nd and 3rd positions are occupied by Khulna and Rajshahi l.2.3%. Divisions with 177 (16.79%) and 1$0 (63.37%) female students migration. A small number of female students , 83 and 21 migrated from Sylhet and Barisal Divisions respectively.

It has been observed from migrants district of origin (guard file survey) that Dhaka district sent the highest in number 246 female students to Metropolitan Dhaka for higher education. Only 7 students migrated from Chittagong H.T. to Dhaka for higher education. Districts of origin studied on the basis of the questionnaire survey shows that out of 173 population, 26 migrated from greater Dhaka district. Mymensingh, Comilla, Barisal, Faridpur districts sent 17, 15,13 and 12 female students to Dhaka respectively for higher education. None of the female student migrated from Chittagong H.T. and Bandarban.

The female migration demographic and socio-economic characteristics indicate that young female students dominated this migration stream (l£.94%) belonging to 16-19 age group. All of the female students were unmarried. Religion affiliation of female migrants indicates that the highest number of female migrants as regarded through both questionnaire and guard file were Muslims.

Socio-economic characteristics of female students indicates that those students who migrated for higher studies came from Higher middle class families and Middle class families of urban origin. Majority (51.15%) fathers of the female migrants were masters and graduate degree holders. Their pattern is systematical with the occupation of the heads of house hold, whereas 51.21% were in administrative and business professions.

The analysis on mobility pattern and activity space of female migrants on the basis of their school/college location showed that 169 (97.68%) resided with their parents at their place of origin. Their average traveling distance from place of residence to school was 1 K.M. Their daily traveling average distance to attend college was 2.5 KM. Only 3 female students during their school life and 34 in their college life moved to another town and resided in hostels adjacent to college. Out of these students, 2Q female students migrated to Dhaka City from 13 different districts during their college life. The movement pattern of female students from their place of origin to Dhaka can be analyzed by distance, time, mode of transport and expenditure. The average traveling distance of female student migrants during their university life was 214.68 K.M.

Adapting Paul’s’ activity space model, diagrams are drawn to identify activity space of the two groups (early period 91-94 and later 95-98) on the basis of average distance covered to go to school, college and university stated that their average traveling distance was nearly the same. Another analysis on the basis of mother’s educational qualification stated that the mothers of only two female students before 95 migrated to Dhaka for higher studies from their place of residence. Among the rest of the mother 6.35% were graduates, 23% went through college and 27.47% completed schooling.

The nature of movement of female student migrants revealed that all were accompanied with some one at their first migration. The nature of movement during later migration was totally different. 98% moved alone from the place of residence to destination. 99.99% traveled to their place of residence once in every 3 months, But the visits usually were relatively of short duration.

          Regarding freedom of mobility of female students, it was observed that female with higher education usually had more freedom of movement 62% female students of urban areas of origin had freedom in the past and present as against 32% had no freedom either in the past or at present in rural areas.

The factors behind female students migration for higher studies indicated that lack of scope of higher education was the main cause. 59.54% supported this factor. The other two factors were no scope for participating in social and cultural activities and no scope for studying in wider environment. The female students gave their opinions more about the pull factors of migration. It is symmetrical with the Lee’s theory. Among these factors, scope for higher education was the most important factor (31.42%). The other factor are opportunities for education, urge to be well established in life and having better opportunities in future.

Comparative analysis with the Ravenstein’s law stated that the choice of destination is regulated by distance. The distance decreases the mobility increases. Similarity might be found with this hypothesis in the present study. The internal female migration of the sample population was particularly high from adjacent areas within Dhaka Division (46.53%). The districts of Rajshai and Chittagong Divisions being in the areas furthest from Dhaka sent comparatively less female students. Another hypothesis of Ravenstein’s law (restated by Lee, 1966) in a series of hypothesis stated that migration responding primarily to plus factors at destination tend to be positively selective. The selected female students as sample population migrated to Dhaka from different districts for higher studies are positively selective. Because female students responding primarily (360 answers) to plus factors of place of destination and only 176 answers behind the compelling factors of place of origin.


Some specific problems were faced by the female student migrants-hich are given below:

i.        Transportation problem at the time of their traveling faced by the female students who migrated from furthest areas/districts (i.e. Thakurgaon) to Dhaka City.

ii.       Residential problem: Accommodation problem is one of the acute problems faced by female students more severely, specially the female students at college residential hostels. A first year Hons./Pass residential student of a college cannot get a seat to accommodate. She might stay in hostel’s common room or dining room until a seat is available to her. Doubling problem is another problems faced by every female residential students in the firs/2nd year. Food and dining problems are other severe problems. Besides, toilet and water supply facilities were insufficient as stated by the residential college students. Guest room problem faced commonly at the private hostels.

iii.      Most of the female were willing to stay in Dhaka after completing their higher studies. This is recorded to be common feature in spite of the female students more severely.


•        Transportation facilities must be improved, that inspired to the female students and they are more migratory. Transportation problems must be solved to encourage female student migration for higher education.

•        he accommodation problems could be solved by the institute authorities. Their positive attitude and effective role could solve this problem to a great extent.

•        he residential problems after completing higher education can be solved by proper planning. Dormitory or hostel provisions for the Working Women may be largely extended by the government. Such facilities should be created in important cities and towns out side Dhaka. This would encourage female migration to different towns and at the same time relieve Dhaka from future accommodation problems.

A regional development of good facilities of higher education and job opportunities for women may reduce the migration flow and pressure on Dhaka city. This may also help in developing the respective regions and enhance the overall development of the nation.

The present research has been conducted through many constraints and limitations. But-nevertheless. Sincere efforts were made to reveal the real life situation in this regard. The author humbly feels that this just a modest beginning of the study at home in regard to female migration for higher education. The bench-ark situation has been carefully studied and some problems along with suggestions for their solution are presented.

Female Migration

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