Women in Higher Education


Higher education is one of the basic needs of human being. For being self dependent, self reliant and self confident higher education is essential for each and every human being. It influences a person to be empowered. Empowerment indicates the power to express the choice, to influence the decisions in the family and in the society. Women constitute nearly the half of the total population and, who are the co-builders of civilization alongside men. Objectives of this study are to identify the influence of socio-economic background of female students (Dhaka University and Jahangirnagar University), to identify the influence of higher education in the level of empowerment and to identify some problems of higher education to provide some policy suggestions. The research findings reveal that socio-economic background has influence in the selection of department. Though there are very few difference between the respondents of Dhaka and Jahangirnagar University but socio-economic background of Arts and Social Science faculty respondents are different. The level of empowerment varies also according to Universities and the faculties of respondents. To show the valid data regarding influence of socio-economic background in higher education and empowerment level the present study has been performed. In Bangladesh, as women constitute half of the total population it is very important to facilitate higher education to female students because it has close relation with the empowerment level.

The study has been arranged with some chapters like Introduction, theoretical and conceptual framework, women’s higher education in Bangladesh, Analysis of research findings, respondents’ perception regarding participation of women in higher education and some suggestions, test of research hypothesis, discussion and recommendations and conclusion.


Bangladesh is an agrarian country. It has a patriarchal society. Bangladesh has a population of about 152.51 million. Numbers of male and female are 76.35 million and 76.16 million. Male and female ratio is 100.3:100 (http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com). Women represent around fifty percent of population. As, Bangladesh is a densely populated country it needs to develop human resources. While, education is the formal process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, customs and values from one generation to another (wiki.education). Adult literacy rate of Bangladesh is 55% where male constitute 60% and female constitutes 49% (Nazmuunnessa Mahtab, 2012). To get an educated nation it is important to ensure female education. Improving girls’ educational levels has been established to have clear impacts on the health and economic future of young women, which in turn improves the prospects of their entire community. Female education incorporates surrounding all education primary, secondary and tertiary (wiki. Female education).

In the present research higher education of women is core concentration. Higher education creates a human being self dependent, self reliant, self confident. In Bangladesh higher education of women depends upon several factors. Socio-economic status influence education of female students. For instance it has been noted that high level of parental education of the family, and high income positively influences academic achievement of children (Juma, 2012). Higher education of female students accelerates the level of empowerment. Empowerment is an ability to enhance women’s self confidence and internal strength. Women’s ill health and lack of education may stand in their way of true liberation (Naz, 2006). There are barriers of female education in Bangladesh. These barriers expand from family to the University campus. Main barriers in higher education are lack of family support and problems of seats in hall.

To identify relationship between socio-economic background and faculty of the respondents, faculty and level of empowerment two Universities have taken as study area. In J.U. male and female seats are separate. Every year a number of female students can get chance in a department. So, it is a matter of concentration that this facility accelerates participation or not. On the other hand in D.U there are no separate seats for female students in D.U. Male and Female students compete together to get admission. But number of female students in D.U is proportionately higher than female students of J.U. Percentage of female students in D.U is 34.63% and 32.49% in J.U (students’ profile, 2012). In competitive admission test percentage of participation is higher. In this situation, comparative analysis will provide representative data regarding socio-economic background and level of empowerment.

Statement of the problem:

“If Women are to contribute effectively to national development into the twenty-first century, “the fundamental question is whether they will be sufficiently equipped to participate fully by receiving a quality education that will prepare them to inter in any field, expose them to science, technology and communications and stimulate their creativity” (Source: Nazmunnessa Mahtab, 2012)

Educating Women, it is said that educating the whole family. Educating at all levels is an impetus to social development and the education of half of the population, inevitably posses a major problem. Education is a cornerstone of women empowerment because it enables to respond to opportunities, to challenge their traditional roles and to change their lives. Educating women benefits the whole society. It has a more significant impact on poverty and development (Nazmunnessa Mahtab, 2012). For every individual, the right to education is one of the first provisions of the universal provisions Declaration of Human rights. The right of access to higher education is mentioned in a number international human right instrument. The UN international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights of 1966 declares in Article 13, that “higher education shall be made equally accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education. The government of Bangladesh operates many schools in the primary level, secondary level and higher secondary level. It also subsidizes parts of the funding for many private schools. The government also operates Universities through the University Grants Commission.

Despite above facilities for female education still the percentages of male and female students in public Universities are not equal. According to the statistical year book of 2010, the percentages of male and female students in the Public Universities are 59.99% and 40.01%. Education increases self reliance, empowerment among the human being. For Women this is very much important to create self reliance, self confidence and empowerment among them. But it is an important question that why participation of female students is low in the higher education level?

This research will explore the barriers of higher education that influence lower participation of women in higher education. The Education of father and mother, occupation of father and mother, family size, religion, residence, family income all factors that influence education of women will be analyzed in this study. After analyzing influence of socio-economic background in the study relation with higher education and empowerment will be studied. Barriers of higher education will also be analyzed in this study. According to the present situation in Bangladesh the condition of participation in the employment including administration, government services, Bank job, teaching etc is not much satisfactory. The influencing level of women in the family depends upon the education level, the willingness and also the position she holds after finishing of the education. So, all things are equally connected with each other.

Significance of the study:

Without the participation of both men and women development of a country is impossible. If we recall the definition of governance then it will be very clear to us. The definition of governance is the undertaking of activities, management of resources, organization of men and women by groups of people, communities, local government bodies, business organizations and the branches of the state (Legislature, Judiciary and government) through social, political, administrative and economic agreements that meet the daily needs of people and ensure sustainable development (Hasnat Abdul Hye, 2000). For ensuring governance it is mandatory to ensure the education in a country. Education is also essential for the development of Bangladesh. The ultimate purpose of the development is to provide increasing opportunities to all for a better life, it is essential to expand and improve facilities for education, health, nutrition, housing and social welfare, and to safeguard the environment (Education Sector Policy Paper by World Bank, 1980). So, emphasize in the education level is must to gain the satisfactory level of participation of all including male and female equally in the society. Women is not only half of the population they represent the nation also. In a family to build up the mental condition of the child it is very important to be educated of women.

In the past 40 years the female education has been encouraged very much but in the developing countries the higher education rates among adult women is not that much satisfactory. Poor, overworked and illiterate these are the profile of women in the developing countries. Literacy is an effective instrument for social and economic development and national integration. Women become aware of their social and legal rights, learn and improve their skills acquire a voice in the affairs of the family and the community.

A plethora of study have found in  women empowerment, socio-economic background of the students but there is no other research about higher education of women and its relation with empowerment. So, this study is needed to perform. In this study the female educational area has been selected, because female education will lead an educated and developed nation. Moreover the influence of female students in their family will also be studied. Family is the centre of the social life. The effectiveness and efficiency of work depends upon the happiness of the family. In the article of “Education and Women Empowerment” the author has shown an example that the educated mothers are more favorable regarding the independence of a child. This kind of attitude influences the future educational achievements of the child. As a student of Public Administration, I have chosen this research topic because female students in J.U. and D.U. will join in the administration and in most of the cases they will involve in the service to serve the nation. So, it is important to conduct such kind of research to identify the socio-economic background of female students and also the perception of the female students regarding the participation of women in the higher education. This study will represent some barriers of higher education that are facing by the female students. The barriers are need to be focused in the National Education Policy, National Women Policy, and in Development plans of Bangladesh.

Research objectives:

  • To identify the socio-economic background of the female students of J.U. (J.U.)and Dhaka University (D.U.)
  • To identify the level of empowerment of the female students of J.U. (J.U.)and Dhaka University (D.U.)
  • To identify barriers of female students in education of J.U. (J.U.) and Dhaka University (D.U.).

Research questions:

  • What is the influence of the socio-economic background in higher education of female students?
  • Does the level of empowerment differ among female students in J.U and D.U?
  • Have any barriers of higher education for the female students?

Research Hypotheses:

  • Socio-economic background influence in faculties of respondents
  • The level of empowerment dependents upon some indicators
  • Residential facilities of University decreases the barriers of higher education

Scope of the research:

The study is based on two universities D.U and J.U. Therefore, generalization of study findings for the whole country may not be appropriate, but it would provide guiding principle regarding women empowerment and its relation with higher education. The study considered two geographic locations mainly for testing hypotheses in two different socio-cultural areas. The major environment covered by the study is method for measuring women’s empowerment, influence of socio-economic background in the higher education of women, barriers they face in the university campus. Socio-economic background of the female students will be measured in this study with education of father and mother, occupation of father and mother, family income, size of the family etc. This research will also be a guiding principle for the suggestions to improve the condition for female education in Bangladesh. For the preparation of policies, programmes, and implementation of the existing policy this research will be helpful.

In order to measure women’s empowerment decision-making power, autonomy, involvement with organization, involvement with profession etc. the impact of higher education in empowerment will be measured in this research. Empowerment level is highly influenced by the higher education of the respondents.

Methodology of the study:

Rationale for using quantitative approach:

Quantitative research includes some structured techniques of data collection that allow quantification, hypothesis, measurement and operationalization as well as the use of quantitative method of data analysis including statistics and computers (Sarantakos, 1998). Moreover the qualitative approach will also be applied here for the detailed analysis of the data. For measuring the level of empowerment, socio-economic background and barriers in higher education quantitative methods have been used in the present study.

Selection of University:

Bangladesh has some thirty-two public universities providing education to the bulk of higher studies to the students (Wikipedia.org/wiki/list of Universities in Bangladesh). These universities are funded by the government while managed as self-governed organizations. Among them, two Universities have been selected for this study. The rationales behind selecting the two Universities are:

  • Research areas are different from location,
  • J.U. is totally a residential university,
  • Male and female students compete separately in J.U.
  • No separate seats for male and female students in D.U.
  • Huge dormitory problems in D.U.

By keeping these things in the consideration this research will be conducted. Higher education of the female students will be studied by comparing Jahangirnagar and D.U.

Selection of respondents:

The following table provides the idea about the total students of Dhaka and J.U. In the D.U. there is no separate distribution of male and female seats but in Jahangirnagar there is quota for male and female students.

Table: Male and female students of J.U. and D.U.









Arts and humanities





Social Science





Mathematical and Physical/Science





Biological Science





Business studies




















Earth and environment





Engineering and technology





Fine arts













(Source: Data collected from the data sheet of students in the 2011 of two Universities)

In the D.U the percentages of male and female students are 65.37% and 34.63%.  On the other hand the percentages of male and female students in J.U are 67.51% and 32.49%. The percentage shows that though there is separate quota for the male and female students but the percentage is not satisfactory.

Female students study

In the above figure description of the sample for this research has been presented in the study.  Total population for performing the present research depends upon the similarities of subjects and faculties in D.U and J.U.

Total number of respondents for this study is 174. From the D.U the number of total respondent is 118. In the D.U the total number of population for this study is 6626. The percentage is 1.80% approximately in this percentage 56 students have been selected for the study.

In the present study two types of sampling method have been used. One is Cluster sampling and another is accidental sampling. Characteristics of this sampling method is that first groups of elements (clusters) are selected (school, classes, etc.) and then individual elements are selected from these clusters (sarantakos, 1998). In the book of Social Research Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches by W. Lawrence Neuman cluster sampling has discussed elaborately discussed. Following table has been prepared as described in this book.

Sources of data:

For conducting this research there are huge data sources that helped to fulfill the study. A unified questionnaire has been prepared for this study and through this questionnaire the author has studied in the two campuses those are Dhaka and J.U. Finally observation of present author has also used for the investigation of the attitudes of female students.


Techniques for data analysis:

In order to process and analyze data the following techniques and tools were used:

  • To assess the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of women usual indicators like rates, average, and percentages etc. have used.
  • To assess the relationship and effect of higher education on empowerment of women changes simple correlation, chi square test, models have used. All the data of this study were processed through Microsoft excel 2007.

Description of the research area:

For completing this study the author has collected data from two Universities. Those are D.U and J.U. Two Universities have been chosen because these two universities have dissimilarities and will be representative in the context of Bangladesh. Some dissimilarity between selected Universities is:

  • J.U. is fully a residential University. On the other hand D.U. is not fully residential University.
  • Students of D.U. can get facilities of Dhaka city very easily but the students 0f J.U. cannot get the facility. Basic information’s about J.U. and D.U. have given below in a table.

Table : Basic information of D.U. and J.U

Type of comparison



EstablishmentEstablished in 1970 by the government of Pakistan by the Jahangirnagar Muslim University Ordinance, 1970Established on July 21, 1921, as per the Government of India Act, 1920, it was modeled on the Universities in England and soon gained prominence
First Vice ChancellorFirst Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mafiz Uddin Ahmad (PhD in Chemistry, University of Illinois, and Chicago) took up office on September 24, 1970The first Vice Chancellor of D.U is Sir. Philip Hartog
First group of studentsFirst group of students, a total of 150, was enrolled in four departments: Economics, Geography, Mathematics and Statistics Academic activities started on July 1, 1921 with 3 Faculties: Arts, Science and Law; 12 Departments: Sanskrit and Bengali, English, Education, History, Arabic and Islamic Studies, Persian and Urdu, Philosophy, Economics and Politics, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Law
Residential facilityThe University is completely residential institutionD.U is not fully residential but there are some halls for the students from the outside of Dhaka
Number of dormitoriesIt has thirteen dormitories, commonly known as halls for its studentsThe University only five female dormitories and fifteen dormitories for male students
Departments and faculties34 departments and Six Faculties along with Two institutesThe university has 66 departments under 13 faculties
Current Vice ChancellorCurrent Vice Chancellor of The University is Professor Dr. M Anwar HossainCurrent Vice Chancellor of This University AAMS Arefin Siddique
Total StudentsTotal students of this University is 10500The total students of this University is 33,000
Area of University697.56 acres (2.823 km²)600 acres (2.43 km²)


Source: Compiled from websites of both University

Limitations of the study:

In this study the author has tried to focus objectives and to prove hypothesis. For conducting this study researcher have faced some problems. Some of them have given below:

  • Limitation of time
  • No other University has taken as the research area for the study. So, this research may not be representative.
  • There is very few research according to the topic of this research

Structure of the study:

The present study consists of eight chapters. The first chapter describes introduction, statement of the problem, Significance of the study, Research objectives, Research questions, Research Hypotheses, Scope of the research, Methodology of the study, Description of the research area, and Limitations of the study.

Chapter two includes literature review and theoretical and conceptual framework. Chapter three describes about the history of female higher education in Bangladesh, steps of Bangladesh government to accelerate female education.

Chapter four describes about the analysis of the research findings in three parts those are socio-economic background, higher education and empowerment and barriers in higher education.

Chapter five includes the perception of female students regarding the improvement of higher education of women. Chapter six describes final discussion and findings of the study. Chapter seven includes the test of research hypothesis. Finally chapter eight includes the conclusion of the study.


In the first chapter of this paper, the research purpose and some questions have been identified. In the current chapter to expand this analysis and to analyze empowerment of female education and higher education some discussions will be added. To this end, this chapter presents a brief discussion of literature regarding higher education, women empowerment, and psychological set up of human being as well as women.

The literature review:

1)      Education and Women Empowerment: Khadiza Khatun

In this article the author has provided some essential information regarding female education and their empowerment. She has performed this research on working women. She has also studied the background of the women specially the female members of the family. In this study she has shown the improvement of female education after studying the education level of female members (grandmother, mother etc.) of their family. This research also focuses on the influence of female members in the decision making of the family. This research paper is helpful for the current research. The present researcher has studied this paper and this will be helpful for the analyzing the socio-economic background and the influence of female students in their family. But this research did not focus on the perception and profession choice of the female students.

2)      Familial Influences and Higher Education: Anjali Shah

In this research paper the author has studied about family income level and education attainment of children has a positive relationship.  As income increases, so will the level of education the child attains. Both parents married and living together has a positive relationship with a child’s educational level.  The educational level of the parents and the attainment of higher education by the child have a positive relationship.  The more educated the parents are, the more likely the child is to pursue higher education. For analyzing the socio economic background part this paper will be helpful.

3)      Higher Education: On life, Landing a Job, and Everything Else they didn’t Teach You in College, Kenneth Jedding

There are four parts in this book. Those are careers, relationships, parents, perspective. In this book the author has provided some basic ideas to build up career of a person. The author has emphasized over relationships with parents, setting one up to succeed, and drawing friendship as a model. In the first part of the book the author has said about relation between major job and major subject. He has provided several examples that major subject should have some relevance with future profession. He has also opined that one can do a job with his or her passion. In last chapter of this book the author has said about the faith on oneself.

4)      Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Change: Tapash Kumar Biswas, Department of Statistics, J.U.

This study is related with the empowerment of female and its impact on the demographic change. In this study the indicators for the measurement of the empowerment are mobility, Decision making power, Autonomy, Ownership of household assets, freedom from domination of the family, political and legal awareness, Participation in social and development activities, contribution to family income and expenditure, Reproductive right, exposure to information media, participation in development programs. In this study female education is the most important predictor for their empowerment. It is the foundation of their development. More years of schooling provide a woman higher exposure to the world and the society which increases their awareness level, decision making power, negotiating capability, choice of freedom and economic security. In this study the hypothesis testing method is very clear and it will be helpful for this research.

5)      Higher education, Freedom of Women, and Their Influence in the Family: The Realization of the Experience of Married Women, Amina Akhter

This thesis paper has been conducted by Amina Akhter a student of Anthropology department J.U. She has been studied the experience of married women regarding the higher education and the influence of them in the family. This study has also revealed that the influence of the female members in their husbands family and in their father’s house. In the society of Bangladesh most of the families are based on patriarchy. But the higher education can provide the opportunity to expose the opinion of women in some critical issues of the family. In this study several examples have shown that, a respondent Chobi has said that she is more educated then her brother and she get more preferences then her brother. Mukti is another respondent and said that she is a doctor and her brother comes to her for suggestions. In this study it has also identified that the higher educated married women also get preference in their marital house. In several matters like education of the younger member of the family the opinions of the female higher educated women get preferences.

6)      Women in Bangladesh: from Inequality to Empowerment:  Nazmunnessa Mahtab

In this book the author has included some information regarding female education in Bangladesh. A chapter named Education and Training of Women: An assessment of Beijing she has added that the educational status of women in the higher education is not satisfactory with the comparison of other regions of the world. For the patriarchal society the participation is not satisfactory. On the other hand she has also added that the participation level of women in higher education is increasing day by day. In the field of higher education she has added that in average, only 19% of women are in higher education. The general Universities like the agricultural and the Engineering constitute 12% and 11% of female students respectively. While in the case of degree levels, there are about 31% female students comprising of 35% in Medical colleges, 38% in Dental colleges, 4.4% in BIT, 9% in Agricultural college and 16% in Law college. She has provided important information regarding the women participation in the education level. This is helpful for me to perform this research because I have collected data on the reasons of lower participation of women.

7)      Attitude of Educated Women Toward Social Issues: Vimla Mehta

This a research works of Vimla Mehta. She has studied about the educated women and their attitude in the Assam of India. The author has studied the attitude of educated women in the Uttar Pradesh of India in 1979. In this study paper the author has focused the attitudes towards the several sectors of life like the family, social and cultural life, education for women, Marriage for the women, Jobs for women and the politics of the women. She has provided important data regarding the measurement of the data or the attitude of the educated women. Basically the researcher used the likert technique for measuring the attitude of the selected women. In this research paper the unit of analysis is the Women of 21 educational institutions in the Uttar Pradesh including University of Gorakhpur, St. Andrew’s college, Gorakhpur, Tara Girls Inter College, Bahraiach, etc. The total number of respondents is 900. In this study the author coated that, ‘there is a greater women behind every great man’, was never a reality in the present patriarchal society where women possess a slightly inferior position to man in physical and mental capacities. The study had been conducted to analyze the attitude of the educated women regarding several matters of the society and their surroundings.  India is a country of verities presents variations are due to socio-psychological factors to which individuals belong. These factors are the age status, caste and community status, marital status, occupational status, socio-economic status and the educational status of the family and the group. This research is helpful for our research about the measurement and the analysis.

8)      Why Women Count: Essays on Women in Development of Bangladesh: Shamim Hamid

The author has provided multiple attentions in the development of Bangladesh through the participation of women. The book has focused the non-market labor force that is the homemakers and works a lot but they do not get proper value of their work. The author has suggested that women are most of the cases the non-market labors and do not earn money because of their work. In this book the author has included several aspects including the health, education, and the contribution of government regarding the improvement of the women participation. This book has also included the sectoral allocation of the female education in the national budget.

9)      The Elusive Agenda: Mainstreaming Women in Development: Rounaq Jahan

The author has incorporated her thinking regarding the importance of the inclusion of Women in the development of Bangladesh. She has added several developments regarding the women participation in the development sector. She has also presented the women’s agenda including their rights in eight sectors those have provided below:

  • Rights including legal equality, Enforcement, Awareness-raising
  • Entitlement means access to and control over productive resources and services
  • Investment including elimination of the gender gap in human development and support for gender needs
  • Voice that means decision making and women’s vision of alternative development agenda
  • Poverty
  • Reproductive labor
  • Security
  • Lastly the Empowerment

She has added that that though organization and consciousness rising have been on the women’s agenda all along, self employment gained salience as a critical strategy only in the last decade (80s). According to her opinion only through self employment they can aspire to break out of gender subordination.

10)  Contemporary Feminist Perspective: Meghna Guhathakurta

In this book the author has indicated the development of the feminist perspective among the women in the several decades. The discussion includes several type of feminist perspective including the radical, modern, and post-modern regarding women. This book includes the comparison of feminist politics and women-centered politics.

11)  Mapping Women’s Empowerment: Experience from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan: edited by Firdous Azim and Maheen Sultan

The collection of essays in the book aims to capture the variety of policies, discourses, debates and interventions that have influenced the life of women in South Asia and to identify those that have led to greater empowerment of women. The essays also review as well as show us the new directions that are opening up new pathways for women to traverse. The three South Asian nations represented here share a common history of colonialisation and nation-making and have had similar cultural struggles.

12)   Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches: W. Lawrence Neuman

This book includes several chapters including elaborate discussion about quantitative and qualitative research approach, the construction of theory and the literature review. The sampling method has also used very clearly in this book. In this study the sampling method and the literature review part and also the way to apply quantitative approach has followed from this book.

15.  Attitude of Female Students Towards Politics in Bangladesh: Noorunnahar Fyzennessa

In this study the author has studied over the female students in two halls of D.U. The purpose of the study in this context is to probe the extent to which female University students are politicized, to what extent they are conversant with socio-political problems of Bangladeshi society, and how they view political problems during their impressionable years. The study also attempts to investigate whether the female students of D.U. have been influenced by politics, have undergone any socio-political changes, such as, attaining freedom from family restraints breaking the barriers of seclusion and dependence on parents and other elderly persons in the family etc. The effect of such changes in attitude or behavior, if any, upon opinions toward the family and society was also investigated. Some other relevant issues in this study is whether their status as females limited their effectiveness in the student front and whether they aspired to join in political activities in national level after the completion of their studies. Their problems and difficulties in joining national political organizations have been brought into focus (Noorunnahar Fyzennessa, 1995). This study will be helpful for the present research as the author has also investigated about the female students. In the part of the discussion this research will also be helpful.

16.  Women, Gender and Development Contemporary Issues: Nazmunnessa Mahtab

This book has been incorporated with the several dimensions of female education in the world and side by side in Bangladesh. Professor Nazmunnessa Mahtab has accumulated several theories regarding Gender and development issues. Not only that is book is a source book of all kind of policies regarding the higher education of female students. The recent development issues regarding female education has also shown in this book. She has incorporated the governance issue from the gender perspective. In the following the diagram has shown bellow about the relationship between gender and good governance that shown by Nazmunnessa Mahtab.

Our lives and the world we live in are shaped by negotiations with, negotiations between and decisions by a range of governance institutions. The questions raised are:

  • Who has the power to make these decisions?
  • Whose voices are heard during the decision-making processes?
  • What material impacts do these decisions have of people’s lives- their opportunities, choices, access to rights and resources, and quality of life?
  • Who are the winners and who are the losers?

The answers of these questions tell a story of gender inequality——-inequality in decision making and inequality in the outcomes of the decisions where ever they are made. Women are also excluded from the decision making in whether within the household community, local and national government or within global institutions such as the United Nations.

Even when they are included in these processes, they are struggling to get their voices heard, and having push for recognition of human rights and for adequate mechanisms to hold government to account for their commitments on gender equality. So the question arises—–

How can governance be effective if woman are unable to exercise their rights to participate in making the decisions that affect their lives and if does not lead to a more equal world where women’s rights are realized?

Science governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented, an analysis of governance focuses on the formal and informal actors involved in decision making and implementing the decisions are made and the formal and informal structures that have been set in place to arrive at and implement the decisions (Nazmunnessa Mahtab, 2012). For influencing in the decisions of the family a position of women is important that is their empowerment. Education is the basic element of the empowerment. So we can say that the good governance is depends highly on the issues like gender and empowerment of women in the society.

17.  Impact of Family Socio-Economic Status on Girl Students’ Academic Achievement in Secondary Schools in Kenya: A Case Study of Kisumu East District, Juma, Lucy Stella Atieno et.al., 2012

In this paper author has included that socio-economic status affects children’s education. For  instance  it  has been noted  that high level  of  Parental  education  of  the  family,  high  income  and  conducive  home  environment  positively influences academic achievement of children. In the Kisumu East District of Kenya researcher has performed a study on 1560 form four girls, 33 head teachers and 33 class teachers. Study established that the girl students’ from high family income performed better than from those from low income families.  Parents with high level of education greatly enhanced girl students’ academic achievement. Moderate family sizes of about 4 children had a big positive influence on girl students’ academic achievement. The study concluded that family income, parental level of education, birth order and family size influenced academic achievement of girls in secondary schools. From the findings the recommendations made were; the government should sensitize parents on the need and importance of supporting girl education  for better performance, parents should also be sensitized by  the school on the  importance  of  providing  for  the  needs  of  the  girl  child  and  its  impact  on  their  academic performance; schools should also advise parents on how to properly use their resources on supporting their daughters academic performance.

18) Women’s Autonomy in Household Decision-Making: A Demographic Study in Nepal: Acharya, Dev R. et.al.

This research work has emphasized on autonomy and link up with autonomy and decision-making. The research shows the result that women’s autonomy in health-care decision- making is extremely important for better maternal and child health outcomes, and as an indicator of women’s empowerment. Gender-based power inequalities can restrict open communication between partners about actions across regions and socio-cultural contexts.

          19)  Causal Effects of Parents’ Education on Children’s Education: Ermisch, John

The  paper  shows  that  parents’  education  is  an  important,  but  hardly exclusive part of  the  common  family background  that generates positive correlation between  siblings’ educational attainments. Their estimates based on Norwegian twins indicate that an additional year of either mother’s or father’s education increases their children’s education by as little as one-tenth of a year. There is evidence that father’s education  has  a  larger  effect  than  that  of  mothers:  one  explanation  is  that  better educated mothers work more in paid employment and spend less time interacting with their children.

Theoretical and conceptual framework:

Psychological and behavioral theories:

In “Children and Society” Erickson One of the famous psycho analyst has studied about the childhood and the impact of the society in it. He has applied two societies in this study those are Sioux and Yurok the two American Indian tribal. The boys are trained to be hunters (Sioux) and fisherman (Yurok), and the girls in both cases are trained to be mothers who will bring up hunters and fisherman. Cultures then elaborate upon the biologically given and strive for a division of functions between sexes which is simultaneously meaningful to the particular society, and manageable for individual ego.

In the last of the 19th century Sigmund Freud has established the psychoanalysis regarding the child psychology. According to his opinion the behavior of human being in adulthood and mental disorder is the reason of the behavior that has influenced in the childhood of a child. Freud has also mentioned that childhood memories persisting into adulthood were screens for important events, usually sexual in nature, and that a correct interpretation of the memory (Psychoanalysis and Women question: Sigmund Freud)

Comparisons of different group of woman identified on the basis of age or education or some other variable can lead to misleading or less informative results of individual differences variables are not taken into consideration. In this research the author has indicated that the behavior of the individual or a group of women is influenced by some factors. In the book of “Psychology of Women: Behavior in the biological context” the author Juanita H. Williams has indicated some factors which affects the behavior of women and it impacts the opinion of women.

Lucy Stella Atieno Juma and two other authors have written an article on Impact of Family Socio-Economic Status on Girl Students’ Academic Achievement in Secondary Schools in Kenya: A Case Study of Kisumu East District. His ideas have been incorporated in the following figure to show factors of achievement of higher education in the study of children.

Factor influence

Higher education:

In the article of John W. Meyer and Francisco O. Ramirez, David John Frank, Irvine, Schofer in 2005 named “Higher education and institutions” has provided information regarding higher education. Traditional perspectives on higher education take the view that particular higher educational programs produce knowledge and skill that tangibly impact individual role performance and social progress.  The idea is that this occurs through research and innovation, certainly, but also through the productivity of trained individual graduates. To those who see higher education as a potentially efficient training machine, this is the core justification for proliferation and growth.

a.      Plato

Plato as an idealistic philosopher grounded the philosophy of education by saying that individual was best serve by being subordinated by a just society. He has advocated removing children from their mothers’ care and raising them as wards of the state. Educating most eligible children in different stages having different social castes, religions etc. that they can care for the less able.

Plato also believed that talent was distributed non-genetically and thus found in children born in any social class. He has also added that it is the responsibility of the state to prepare the children as the ruling class. He has called this type of education as the public education. He has also provided some essential ideas regarding education. Those are:

  • Elementary education should be confined to the guardian class till the age of 18. Followed by two years of compulsory military training.
  • Then higher education for those who qualified. While elementary education made the soul responsible to the environment, higher education helped the soul to search for truth which illuminated (to enlighten as with education) it.
  • Plato has added both boys and girls education and they will receive same type of education.

Plato’s concept of elementary education consisted of Music and gymnastics designed to train and blend gentle and fierce qualities in the individual and create a harmonious person. org/wiki/Philosophy_of_education).

  1. a.      Aristotle

On the other hand Aristotle has provided the procedure of higher education from his realistic view. He has considered human nature, habit and reason to be equally important forces to be cultivated in education. Socrates has emphasized on the questioning his listeners to bring out their own ideas. Aristotle placed great emphasize on balancing the theoretical and practical aspects of subject taught. For Aristotle the prime mission of education is to produce good and virtuous citizens for the polis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_education).

b.      John Locke

John Locke has identified several ideas regarding higher education. An important thing which is different from both Aristotle and Plato that is “association of ideas” he warned the parents about the negative association of the children. Locke has provided the idea that in his “Some thoughts’ concerning education is an outline on how to educate his mind: he expresses the belief that education makes the man or more fundamental that the mind is an empty cabin. Locke has provided the idea that, “I think I May say that off all the men we met with nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Philosophy_of_education).

c.       Rousseau

Rousseau has provided a different theory from the others he has focused on the human development. Where Plato had that people are born with skills appropriate to different castes (though he did not regard this skills as being inherited). Rousseau wrote in his book “Emile” that all children are perfectly designed organisms. Ready to learn from their surroundings so as to grow into virtuous adults, but due to the malign influence of corrupt society, they often fail to do so (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_education).

d.      Paulo Freire

Paulo Freire has provided a very much important and revolutionary theory of education by incorporating the impoverished people in the process of education to get rid of from the oppression. Aspects of the Freirian philosophy have been highly influential in academic debates over participatory development and development more generally. Freire emphasize on what he describes as “emancipation” through interactive participation has been used as a rationale for the participatory focus of development, as it is held that “Participation” in any form each lead to empowerment of poor or marginalized groups.

Critical pedagogy is a philosophy of education described by Henry Giroux as an educational movement guided by passion and principle, to help student develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive decisions or actions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Freire).

e.       Marry Wollstonecraft

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with structures on political and moral subjects written by the 18th century British feminist marry Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. To response the feminist theorists in 18th century she has provided this theory. Those theorists have said that women do not need to be educated.

Wollstonecraft was prompted to write the Rights of Woman after reading Charles Maurice de Talleyrand- Perigond’s 1791 report to the French National Assembly, which stated that women should only receive domestic education. She has launched a broad text of this. She does not explicitly state that men and women are equal. This book was published in 1972.

One of Wollstonecraft’s central arguments in the rights of woman is that women should be educated rationally in order to give them opportunity to contribute to society. For Wollstonecraft, “the most perfect education is an exercise of understanding as is best calculated to strengthen the body and form the heart. Or in other wards to enable the individual to attack such habits of virtue as will render it independent. In addition to broad philosophical argument, Wollstonecraft lays out a specific plan for rational education to counter Talleyrand in chapter 12, “On National Education”, she possess

  • Children should send to day schools as well given some education at home “to inspire a love of home and domestic pleasure and that schools be free for children five to nine years age.
  • She also maintained that schooling should be co-educated, contending that men and women whose marriages are “the current of society should be educated after the same model A_Vindication_of_the_Rights_ of_Woman).

In the conference paper named “Learning Theories and Higher Education”, Frank Ashworth, Gabriel Brennan, Kathy Egan, Ron Hamilton, Olalla Saenz et al. have provided several theories regarding the higher education. Some aspects of tertiary education has provided below in a matrix table. Higher education consists of some aspects including behaviorists, cognitive, Humanist, Social learning, and constructivist.


Behaviorism originated as a social science, the goal of which was to predict and control behavior. Learning was manifested by a change in behavior, with an emphasis on a connection between a stimulus and a response. From a behaviorist perspective, the goal of education is to ‘ensure survival of human species, societies and individuals’.


In educational terms this would lead to the self directed learner, with the teacher as the facilitator of student learning. Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation presented a hierarchy of needs-the highest of which is higher education from humanistic point of view.


Cognitive theorist recognizes that much learning involves associations established through contiguity and repetition. They also acknowledge the importance of reinforcement, although they stress its role in providing feedback about the correctness of responses over its role as a motivator

Social learning:

Merriam and Caffarella classify social learning theory as a theory on a par with constructivism, humanism, behaviorism, and cognitive. There are two oppressing perspective those are first, the person can be seen as a passive receiver of behavior, roles, attitudes, and values which are shaped and maintained by the social environment. The second approach provides for an active role for the person.

The above theories are separated from one another. But in this research these theories are all helpful. Because this study is related with the behavior of female students, development of the capacity, self actualization and autonomy that means empowerment, model new roles and behavior, and finally the construction of knowledge. In the following a diagram has been prepared for this study according the above theories.

Theory of higher education

Women Empowerment:

Empowerment of women is not a new concept in most of the developing countries. From the realization of the socio-economic backwardness of women, recently more emphasize has been given on women empowerment. The concept has originated mostly from the researches of the third world countries. (Tapash, 2002) In case of Bangladesh empowerment of women means women should be given freedom of choice for self fulfillment and self development as well equal access to domestic and community resources, opportunities and power as defined by UNDP.

Women’s empowerment as getting women into apex position that oversees decision-making affecting society and polity. On the other hand empowerment makes a woman free from religious orthodoxy, polygamy, rape, child, marriage, unequal marriage and forced pregnancy (Tapash, 2002). There are some measures of empowerment those are considered as the indicators of the empowerment those are poverty, education and training, health, violence, armed conflict, economy, power and decision making, institutional mechanism for the advancement of the women, human rights, media, environment and girl child. Women’s empowerment is an idea whose meaning is instinctively clear but which proves very difficult to translate into specific attributes of any situation and a wide range of have been used in trying to define it. Insofar the idea of empowerment contains within it the sense of control over one’s life, the ability to take decisions and to act upon those decisions; it suggests a degree of independence or autonomy. However the manner in which such autonomy might find expression can and does vary tremendously across different cultural contexts so that it is difficult to have a cultural context free definition harmonized for all groups and countries. Without trying to attempt a comprehensive definition it is in this sense of exercising control over one’s life choices.

The ability to exercise control can vary from person to person and from situation to situation. Insofar as empowerment is seen as an individual attribute, the corollary is that there are there are certain attributes that are associated with an empowered person, for example economic security and education. But empowerment can also be a function of an environment. An empowering environment is one that compliment and enhances those actions and attributes that reflects individual empowerment. For example a woman can wish to work outside the home; an environment that encourages her in this could be created by a supported family, a community that sees it is normal or acceptable; a workplace that encourages and facilitates women working. The reverse effect that an empowered individual may be able to make an environment empowering should also be true. The ideas of the two authors have showed that the empowering environment encourages woman to involve in the work outside the home or being self dependent about her. Women empowerment is broadly influenced by the environment as well as the family and the surrounding around her. The ideas in the article has represented in the following figure.

women empowerment

The study has been performed to show the socio-economic background of female students in J.U. and D.U. The status of higher education of female students has been increased that has shown in the above charts. The perception of female students has also changed to be self dependent and to utilize their higher education in the future. Women empowerment situation has also been analyzed in this study. The decisions of the female students in their family, the perception about their involvement with the job, Self dependency, are the indicators of the measuring the women empowerment in Bangladesh. Some barriers have been studied as the controlling variable in this study.

Relation between education and empowerment:

From the above discussion present researcher has shown several theories regarding psychology of women including the theory of differentiating between the groups of female students having same academic background. In the second segment it has shown the theories regarding the higher education of human being as well as female education. Among the theorists of higher education Plato has emphasized on the boys and girls education. Rousseau has indicated the female education as the pleasure of men. On the other hand Paulo Freire has emphasized on the education of impoverished group that they can participate in the national aspects. As a feminist Marry Wollstonecraft has said in her book A Vindication of Rights of Women that women should get the opportunity to participate in the formal institutions and also rational education. In this portion the relation between higher education and empowerment will be shown as identified in the book of Nazmunnessa Mahtab, ‘Women, Gender, and Development contemporary issues’.

There is a growing consensus now that education irrespective of who receives it, contributes to development. It raises income, promotes health and increases productivity. There is also a consensus that when women are the recipients, the benefits are even more apparent. Increasing education of women and girls contribute to their greater empowerment. She has shown a diagram regarding the impact of education as follows:

education vs empowerment

After accumulating the above theories the conceptual framework of this study has shown below with a diagram:

In the above figure, the author has conceptualize the main concept of the research that the socio economic background influence the higher education of female students and it creates the self actualization and autonomy among them as well as the higher education of female students influence the empowerment of them. The socio-economic background of the study is divided in two ways those are the information of the family members including the number of the family, the education of the family members, the occupation of the family members etc. In this study I have conceptualize that the barriers of higher education including gender discrimination, the obstacles in the higher education level etc.

Development of Higher education of Women in Bangladesh


This chapter will describe about the history of higher education and education of women, steps of the Bangladesh government to enhance higher education as well education of women in Bangladesh. This chapter will describe the description of emergence of female education and gap of education between male and female.

Women’s Higher Education in Bangladesh:

“The objective is to create a class of people Indian in blood and color but English in taste, in opinions, in mind and in intellect.”(Islam, 2011)

The above quotation is from the research paper of Yousuf Islam but this was used by Sharfuddin (1996), in 1985, the then chairman of the Education Committee of the East India Company, Thomas Robington. This essentially meant that the British developed a system of higher education in colonial India that basically created only ‘munshis’ (i.e. clerks) as they were commonly known. Their skill revolved around record and accounts keeping and drafting of documents. This followed the declared education policy of the East India Company which was to create a class of loyal servants to work in offices of the British rulers. Creativity and independent thinking were not required of a loyal servant! Since that time, the region where Bangladesh (earlier known as East Bengal) is situated has faced two wars of independence, one in 1947 when Pakistan (consisting of what is today known as Pakistan together with what is known today as Bangladesh) broke away from India and in 1971 when Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan. The second war is popularly known as ‘War of Independence’. Independence has had little or no positive effect on changing the basic education delivery methodology (Islam, 2011)

Development of female students’ education in Bangladesh:

In the 19th century the employers of the Missionary companies, the British citizens live in this country. Colonial government, the educated persons in the urban area of Bangladesh has influenced highly in the female education. From Raja Rammohan Roy, Darkanath Thakur, A.K. Datta, Viddyasagar have provided the idea that the female education is necessary for the country as well as the male partners. In the primary stages women also thought that the main objective to gain education is to get a good husband. In the last 19th century and in the beginning of 20th century the British colonial emperors have started the English education that was only based on the male persons.

The patriarchal society provides education to the female for only their own interest and they say that the females are not so appropriate to get all kind of education because of their biological condition. Women on that time also agree with this opinion. This was proved in the opinion of Indira, Debi Chowdhuraani. She think that homemaking is the summary of the life of women, and she has suggested to the authority of the University that “Taking exams are not the only objective of female life” she has also added that the body and mind structure are not appropriate and by keeping these in mind women should not get the opportunity to join in University education. They recommended further that the God has made male and female in the two frames that they should not provide same education. In this period the institutional education was only limited with the house of women. From the writings of Begum Rokeya it has found that the female students are not allowed to provide formal learning rather than religious learning (Amina Akhter, 2001).

Status of Female Education in Bangladesh:

Enrollments of male female respondents have given below from the table of number of Institution, Enrolment and Teacher in Post-Primary and Primary by management and sex, 2010 of Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS).

Table: Number of male and female students in Public Universities

StudentsNo. of studentsPercentage (%)

Source: Compiled from banbeis.gov.bd/webnew/index.php

The status of women in society is determined by many factors. The link between literacy and women’s social status is undividable. One of the indicators is the level of education in the country. One of the indicators is the level of education in the country. Education has often been one of the keys to empowerment. This also helps a country to improve effectively the human resources for national development. Education is an essential tool for development. Education is also the tool for breaking the vicious cycle of ignorance and exploitation and empowering women and girls to improve their lives.

In Bangladesh, women are lagging behind men in all stages of education. The literacy rate of Bangladesh is 55%, where male constitutes 60% and female constitutes 49%. In 2008, the total enrollment of students in the primary schools was 97.6%, whereas girls 78%. Although the enrollment rate for girls has increased significantly in recent years, both at primary and secondary levels, the dropout rate continues to be higher at the secondary levels. It is about 46%. Only 37% of the students at the secondary school levels are girls. The highest dropout rate is at the level of X (class-10). At this level the total dropout rate is 19.0%. The female dropout rate is 20.5 percent as compared to 17.6 percent in case of male. Marriages, divorce, social insecurity like sexual harassment on the way to and from school impede girl’s participation in public life. Furthermore, parents like to invest on son’s education rather than daughter education (Nazmunnessa Mahtab, 2012)

Some initiatives of Bangladesh government regarding female education:

A number of national documents of Bangladesh have formulated gender objectives and gender policies regarding education and equal access of boys and girls in educational facilities. Constitution of Bangladesh pledges for equal access of men and women in all spheres of life. This policy has manifested when women are considered as target groups in all the Five Year Plan of Bangladesh. However up to fourth five year plan of Bangladesh, women were targeted as means and not as ends. Therefore, primary objective of allocating resources for women’s education was to educate women for the interest of future generation and not for raising the life qualities of women themselves.

For accelerating female education, participation in the development of nation, there are huge initiatives of Bangladesh government. Most of the initiatives have been taken in development plans and constitution of Bangladesh. Bangladesh also participated in some foreign programs. Some programs of Bangladesh government are:

  • Constitutional provisions
  • Third Five Year Plan (1985-90)
  • Fourth Five Year Plan (1990-95)
  • Fifth Year Plan (1997-02)
  • Interim-Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP)
  • National Education Policy (2000)
  • National Policy for the Advancement of Women
  • National Action Plan (NAP)


  • Platform for Action (PFA)
  • Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

To analyze initiatives of government regarding female education the above policies have been discussed below sequentially.

Third Five Year Plan (1985-90)

Reduction of gender based disparity as plan’s objective appeared in the Third Five Year Plan (1985-90). To achieve this objective, following women-specific development programs were undertaken in the education sector

  • Providing of skill training in poultry,  dairy, livestock, food processing, garment and handicrafts;
  • Strengthening of the National Women’s Academy and National Women’s Organization for skill training (Majumder, Dr. Pratima Paul 2005).

Fourth Five Year Plan (1990-95)

The Fourth Five Year Plan (1990-95) made a departure by making a commitment to bring women from the margin into mainstream development process. But due to lack of a clear understanding of the mainstreaming strategy, planning process remains the same as before. Thus, nature of development projects undertaken during this plan for women remains the same as before. Hence, most of the education projects undertaken for women’s development during the fourth five year plan aimed at supporting women as mother and housewives rather than empowering them to undertake gainful jobs (Majumder, Dr. Pratima Paul 2005).

Fifth Year Plan (1997-02)

The main thrust of the Fifth Year Plan (1997-02) is also mainstreaming of women in development policies. Gender objective in this plan has been described as ”to integrate women’s development into the macro-framework and to reduce gender disparity in all sectors through the integration of women in mainstream development efforts” Reduction of gender gap in literacy rate in both rural and urban areas is highly emphasized in the Fifth Five-Year Plan of Bangladesh. Women specific policies, objectives and strategies set in this Plan for education sector are as follows:

  • To enhance participation of women  in every sphere of education as well as to reduce the gap between facilities provided for male and female education;
  • In view of co-education existing  at the primary level, and widespread at the secondary level, sporadic program for setting up gender specific higher educational institute will be reviewed;
  • At least 70 per cent of the primary level teachers will be female and recruited locally;
  • Free tuition and stipend will be provided to unmarried girl students especially in rural areas.

The main objective of the Fifth Five-year Plan in the education sector is to make the Compulsory Primary Education Program effective through the local government, community and NGO support (Majumder, Dr. Pratima Paul 2005).

Interim-Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP)

Interim-Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP) of Bangladesh also keeps issue of women’s education aside from mainstream education system. Main actions recommended to be undertaken in this area are as follows:

  • Action towards changing current education curriculum to eliminate biases against women, and include    legal, human and women right issues at all levels of education starting from very early stage;
  • Increase women’s access to education at secondary and higher levels.
  • To facilitate women’s access to education at secondary and higher levels, provide school bus, toilet and hostel facilities for girls in addition to monetary facilities such as free education and scholarship for girls (Majumder, Dr. Pratima Paul 2005).

Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)

Full PRSP has been completed recently and the government has already published final report of this document. In this document, women’s issue has been considered as crosscutting issue and integrated in each and every aspect of poverty alleviation.  But it is yet to be implemented. Allocation in the forthcoming national budget (budget of FY 2005-06) will reveal whether budgetary allocation adheres to the strategies adopted in the PRSP (Majumder, Dr. Pratima Paul 2005).

National Education Policy (2000)

Realizing the importance of women’s education, the latest National Education Policy (2000) incorporates a separate section on women’s education. One of the aims of this policy is to develop self-confidence, human dignity, knowledge and skill among women through providing education and skill training. This policy is undertaken in the right direction of empowering women through education since self-confidence, human dignity, knowledge etc. lie at the root of empowerment of any person. Some of the important strategies to achieve these objectives are as follows:

  • Special fund should be created and non-government initiatives should be encouraged for increasing the literacy rate of women.
  • Measures should be taken for decreasing the number of dropouts from school. The dropout girls should be brought under various vocational programmes.
  • In order to bring a large number of women under the umbrella  of formal education and inspire them to pursue education from primary to higher and professional levels, necessary facilities for women education must be provided in educational institutions at all levels.
  • Through proper changes in the syllabus of primary education, positive and progressive images of women and the issue of their equal rights should be highlighted so that the existing social attitude towards women changes.
  • As the number of secondary schools in the country is not sufficient, transport and hostel facilities have to be arranged for girls.
  • Girls should be encouraged in science and other professional education (like, engineering, medical, law and business, etc). Necessary budget allocation should be made for professional education of girls.
  • Women must be involved in all policy formulation and decision making on education at all levels – the Ministry, higher education, secondary education and primary education.

These strategies are also very appropriate in achieving the objective of women’s education. But, in this document also, there is conspicuous absence of specific guidelines needed to mainstream women into the general development process of education.

NEP 2000 devoted a special section on women’s education for removal of social and economic barriers to their right to education; to make them aware of their social, political, civic and economic rights; and to make them skilled to achieve equal participation in work place. The strategies for achieving these goals included (a) special allocations and other measures for inclusion of women in the education system (b) special efforts for their retention including making curriculum girl-friendly and cognizant of women’s needs, and (c) expansion of opportunities for girls in skill training (Bangladesh  Education Sector Overview,2002).

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

One of the Millennium Development Goals is to reduce gender gap in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005 and in all levels of education no later than 2015. Another goal is to empower women. Thus there is no dearth of national policy and strategies and international commitment for developing women’s education and skill base (Majumder, Dr. Pratima Paul 2005).

World Conferences

For every individual, the right to education is one of the first provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, education is often neglected in societies struggling to meet the many demands of their people. Only recently, education has received greater priority as planners finally recognized it as a factor in determining the pace of development. Creating educational opportunities for girls and women is strongly emphasized in a majority of UN documents. Supplementing the 1960 UNESCO Convention against Discrimination, Article 10 of the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), in 1979, outlined a comprehensive agenda for promoting gender equality in education. The World Conference on Education for All, sponsored by UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank and the UNDP and held at Jomtein, Thailand, in 1990 took stock of the presence and dimensions of the gender gap in education. Looking to the year 2000, its final declaration stated “The most urgent priority” is guaranteeing access to, the improving the quality of education for girls and Women, and removing obstacles to their active participation. All gender stereotyping in education should be eliminated.

The World Educational Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, in 2000, renewed the commitment in achieving Education for All by 2015. The Dakar Framework for Action placed particular emphasize on the reaching of gender equality in education and focused on ensuring girls’ and Women’s full and equal access to and the achievement in basic and continuing higher education. The special attention rendered to the education of Women and girls and development and advancement in the quality of people’s lives, as well as the means of empowering women themselves (Majumder, Dr. Pratima Paul 2005).

Analysis of Research Findings


Before starting survey I have incorporated some theoretical discussion for searching deeply the objectives. On the basis of the data and the theoretical part discussion of collected data has been incorporated in this chapter. Before moving towards main discussion total respondents for the study has been given below in a table:

Table : Respondents for the study

The subsequent table shows respondents from D.U. and J.U. Faculties of respondents have also shown here.


Dhaka University


Arts and Humanities



Social Science



Business Studies







































The number of respondents have selected proportionately. Among eleven respondents of Mathematical and Physical Science faculty there are two respondents of Pharmacy department and one from Environmental Science department.

Socio-economic background of respondents

The first objective in this study is to identify the socio-economic background of respondents. Family is the cornerstone of the social life. In one scenario, school students from low socio-economic background are at a disadvantage in schools because they lack an academic home environment, which influences their academic success at school. Another scenario argues that school and neighborhood environment influences academic success, so that low socio-economic background schools are low performing, and that only extremely resilient young people can escape the fate of low academic achievement (Rothman Sheldon, 2003). On the basis of the Satisfaction of family life the work effectiveness in the other matters of life is accelerated. Socio-economic background will be analyzed below with some indicators. Those are:

  • Education of Mother
  • Occupation of Mother
  • Education of father
  • Occupation of father
  • Size of the family
  • Family income
  • Residence
  • Religion

Education of Mother

According to several research findings the educated mothers are more concerned about the freedom of their female child. For this reason the future of children are brighter and they succeed in the life (Khadiza Khanom, 1998). In the following table education of mother has been identified.

There is difference between faculties and education of mother of respondents. In the Arts and Humanities faculty there are 35 respondents in this research and we can see that education of mother of the 7 respondents is below S.S.C. On the other hand although the number of respondents in the Science background is 18 mothers of 6 respondents have passed H.S.C.  Mothers of two respondents are post graduated and among the 35 students Arts and Humanities faculty also mothers of two respondents are postgraduate. On the other hand three mothers of Business studies faculty of D.U are post graduated.

In J.U education of mother of science faculty students is highest in H.S.C. level. Education of mother of D.U students is high in Science faculty students. In S.S.C level number of mothers is more than the D.U students.

Occupation of mother:

A child having a working mother is psychologically different from the child whose mother is not involved with any occupation outside the home (Juanita H. Williams, 1997). From the family the psychological set up grow up among child. In this research keeping similarities with literature the relation between occupation of mother and faculty of respondents have been shown.

In the following table two variables have shown under each University. Here five faculties have been shown specifically. In the left of the table occupation of mother will be incorporated.

  • In the Arts and Humanities faculty of D.U among 35 students 8.57% mothers are teacher. On the Hand in the J.U among the 17 students 0% mothers are teacher. Mothers of 5.71% respondents in D.U of this faculty are involved with the government service. On the other hand mother of 1 respondent is involved with the government services and the percentage is 5.88%. Accordingly 29 and 16 respondents’ mothers’ are housewife. The percentage is 82.86% and 94.12%. In the D.U mother of one respondent is a Business person.
  • Occupation of mother from the Law faculty respondents the respondent of D.U. opined that her mother is a teacher on the other hand mother of the respondent from J.U. have been said that her mother is a housewife.

The findings of this portion reveal that in teaching profession there are total 3 mothers of respondents from J.U. and 10 mothers from D.U. The percentage is highest among the students of D.U. The percentages of occupation in government job in J.U and D.U are 1.79% and 5.17%.

The highest percentage of occupation of mother in J.U. and D.U is housewife. The percentages are 87.5% in J.U. and 82.76% in D.U. In the others occupation 3 and 4 students mothers are involve with business, private job etc in J.U. and in D.U

NGO and Development:

The 1.79% respondents of the J.U have said that they would like to be involved with job because this job is creative, like to work for society and people, self interest and good salary etc. On the other hand 5.08% percentages of the respondents would like to involve with the Ngo and development segment.


Students of both Universities have said about this job. Reasons to choose this job by respondents of D.U are, suitable for women, fascination to this, most prestigious then other Jobs, highly respectful, flexible. Side by side the students of J.U choose this profession because it is safe for women, social respect, flexible for women, providing moral education etc.

Bank Job:

Students of J.U prefer Bank job because this is favorable for women, own choice, more money and respect, subject field of Business studies faculty student etc. On the other hand students of D.U prefer this Job because of more salary, fair selection, social and economic security, own choice, dream to get a Bank Job.


Students of the D.U 0.85% would like to do this profession on the other hand in J.U 3.57% students would like to do this job because this is a challenging job, personal freedom, dream to be involve in a multinational company. The reasons are like to do something for the country, self dependent, and joint venture with friends.

Barriers in Higher education:

Barriers still discourage girls from enrolling into physical and natural science and applied science courses, e.g., engineering. The obstacles include cultural influence, stereotyping gender-role at home and at school, absence of women role models, misperception about non-traditional occupations, erosion of self-esteem amongst girls in their teens, particularly in poor families and non-urban areas, under-representation of women issues in text books, and myths based on a masculine view of excellence (Bangladesh Education Sector Overview, 2002).

Barriers in higher education:

This portion is included with some Barriers that the female students of Jahangirnagar and D.U face. In the part of theoretical and conceptual framework some barriers of higher education have been incorporated. With keeping mind the portion some specific options was included in the questionnaire. On the basis of those responses the following findings have shown.

Table: Barriers in higher education
































The above table is the percentage of the respondents of Jahangirnagar and D.U has some barriers in the higher education or not. In top of the table two Universities shown. In the left of the table the responses of the respondents have been incorporated. In this table it is clear that the percentage of barriers in higher education is high in the D.U that is 27.12%. In J.U the percentage is 10.71%.

Chi test value between the two variable educational institution and the barriers in higher education is 0.01441. So, we can conclude there is close relationship that the difference of educational institution makes difference in the barriers of higher education

Some specific barriers in higher education

The above result shows that student of the D.U face more barriers then the students of J.U. There are five options for selecting barriers in higher education. The following table shows the specific barriers faced by the respondents of Dhaka and J.U comparatively. Barriers in education are matter of concern in this study because it is an empowering environment to help a person to be empowered that the author has represented in the theoretical part of this research. Among 174 students of the present research 32 respondents from D.U and 6 students from J.U have said that they face barriers in higher education for this reason the total of the respondents in this portion is 38 and percentages are calculated in the part of total from this.

Table: Percentage of most prominent barrier in higher education











Problems of seats in hall







Lack of family support







For family responsibility







Lack of cooperation of teachers







Family pressure for marriage





















 Table has presented the most important barriers in higher education that they face more. In the table two variables have been presented those are Barriers and Universities. In the D.U the most preferred option of problem is problems of seats in hall. The percentage is 34.38%. On the other hand in the option of seat problem in J.U. is 16.67%. In the D.U students cannot get seats before second year. Without any political affiliation sometimes it is very hard to get a seat in hall. Several occurrences happen regarding the hall seat issues in the D.U.

The highest percentages of problem have been shown in the option of for family responsibility is 33.33%. Seven students of D.U have said about the problem lack of family support. On the other hand 1 student from J.U said about the lack of family support.

  • Eve teasing

Eve teasing is a buzz word in the modern society. It is a mental disease of some person to make someone mentally ill. In this perspective a student of D.U. from the department of marketing has provided her opinion that for this reason her higher education has hampered for two years.

  • Problems created in house for the failure to get admission in Universities

Tuli, 1st year department of History, D.U, has informed that in the admission test exam he has failed several times to get chance her parents said they will give marriage to her and she has no need to educate more. But she has said that at present there is no problem like this.

  • Problems to get seats in hall

The respondents of the D.U have said about this problem. For this problem they cannot get the proper facilities for learning. In a room there are 150 students in a hall of D.U. Not only that the environment and condition of the room is very poor. For getting a seat in hall sometimes political involvement is very necessary for them.

  • Adjustment problems

Tamima Tanvin, a student of Department of Bangla in the D.U has said about environment of the university as the barrier of higher education. She has faced problems in the adjustment with the other students of the D.U.

  • Education system:

Trishna, 1st year student from Department of Anthropology, J.U. has informed that present education system seems a barrier to her. She cannot explore her knowledge in this education system.

After the analysis of the findings the result point a direction to the decision that there are huge problems in higher education but the most prominent one is problems of seats in hall. If this problem is possible to remove then it is also possible for the minimization of other relevant problems.

Gender discrimination in University:

In the empowering environment of the Universities the gender discrimination is a negative thing. And in this part a table will be presented below about percentage of gender discrimination in the University. Because whatever the family background it is the present environment is a prominent thing in the matter of the empowerment of the female students.

Chapter Five: Respondents Perception about Women’s Higher Education and Some Suggestions


In this chapter opinion of respondents regarding the higher education of women has been incorporated, suggestions and reasons for poor profession, This portion has not included in the findings and data analysis part because this is not included to the specific objectives of the study.

Participation of women in higher education:

Respondents of this study have provided several opinions regarding participation of female students in the higher education. Here author is going to present the participation of women in higher education. In the following table opinions regarding participation of women in higher education have shown with aggregate data:

Table :  Participation of women in higher education











Very good





















Very bad







Not bad














The table incorporates two variables regarding the participation of women in higher education. The dominating opinion is participation of women in higher education is good. And percentage of total respondents opined regarding this matter are 55.93%. On the other hand 10.17% respondents of D.U said that participation of women in higher education is bad 5.36% respondents of J.U said that participation is bad. In the part of gender discrimination there are 39.29% respondents of J.U said that there is gender discrimination in the university. The main reason they have informed is female quota system. In this perspective respondents have said that:

  • Participation is increasing gradually
  • Quota should not exist in education while there are huge opportunities to get proper education.

13.79% respondents have said that present participation is very good. When the interviewer have asked them to explain then they said that in their departments female students are almost equal to male students and the academic results of them are very good then male students.

Reasons of bad or very bad participation:

Regarding low participation several ideas have provided by respondents. There are three groups of interrelated an interconnected factors that impede equal participation of women in education. These are:

  • Socio-cultural constraints, arising from gender discriminatory patriarchal attitudes
  • Poverty
  • Systematic Inadequacy (Nazmunnessa Mahtab, 2012)

The following table integrates some issues about reasons of bad participation of women in higher education. In the question no.7 respondents were asked regarding reasons of bad or very bad participation.

Female quota system in job sector:

The article 29 of Bangladesh constitution says about equality of opportunity in public employment. In Bangladesh still there is no equal participation of female in the job sector. Women make up 31% of the official labor force in developing countries and 46.7% worldwide. In most of the countries women work approximately twice the unpaid time men do. The majority of women earn on average about three fourths of the pay of males for the same work, outside the agriculture sector, in both developed and developing countries (Nazmunnessa Mahtab, 2012).

In this portion present researcher is going to show the perception of female students regarding female quota system in job sector.

The following table shows that 50% respondents from J.U and 41.53% respondents from D.U strongly supported about the female quota system in job sector.  The reason behind this opinion is for the greater participation percentages from J.U and D.U are 28% and in D.U the number of respondents are 46%. Respondents have provided several reasons. Those are:

  • The participation of women in job sector is very poor
  • Sometimes higher qualified women do not get an appropriate job in more competitive sector

Chapter seven: Discussion and Recommendations

Discussion on findings

Parental  level  of  education  is important  and  the  way  the  parent  perceive  her  Childs capabilities would influence the student’s performance.  If the girl  was  led  to  believe  that  she  is  capable  of performing  low  academically,  she  would  have  low expectations  of  herself; would  have  little  self motivation and  would  achieve  very  little.  However, if the girl was made  to  believe  that  she  is  capable  of  performing  well academically then she would be self motivated and excel in academics. (Juma, Lucy Stella Atieno, Simatwa, Enose M.W.et.al, 2012).

Socio-economic background is the past and the history of human being. If any doctor wishes to diagnosis a disease then he/she must have a history of the disease. In the present research, socio-economic backgrounds of the students have been studied to analyze the impact of the socio-economic background in higher education of female students.

In the first part of the analysis, socio-economic background of female students of both Universities has been shown. The findings of the study in socio-economic background part there are several things which should be concentrated. The students of Dhaka and J.U are not so much different from the socio-economic background perspective. But there are differences on the basis of faculties of university.

In terms of education of mother, there is positive relation with faculty of the respondents. But in J.U education of mother is not an influential factor. It is tested by psychological researchers that the mental set up of respondents influenced by the family members and it depends upon the family. Having fathers with good educational background children also can be a well educated.

In the science faculty of both Universities fathers have good educational background and good occupation. It is a matter of concentration that the lower educated parents’ children hardly get admission in the highest valuable department. In every case respondents with a satisfactory educational background are studying in the science or other demandable subjects.

In case of size of the family it has also seen that respondents with lower family size get admission in science faculty of D.U. In findings it has been shown that the size of the family is high among the arts and humanities faculty students.

In terms of family income there is positive relationship between faculty and family income. Family income and the faculty of the respondents are closely related. From the study it is very clear that science, biological faculty and business faculty respondents have good family background. Students from low education of mother, no occupation of mother, low education and occupation of father, high size of the family, religion of the respondents, low family income are in Arts and Social Science faculty.

In terms of decision making respondents of Science faculty has high influence in the decisions of family though they are not highly involved with organization and profession. Respondents of both university influence in their family decisions in terms of education of their siblings.

Respondents of J.U. involve in organization more. There are some barriers of higher education faced by D.U. students than the respondents of J.U. The students of D.U. also face gender discrimination in the campus though the percentage is higher than the students of J.U. students. The above things have been identified in the theoretical part of the research that to differentiate women of same category these things are important.

Some issues need to be concerned:

After the above analysis some issues that must be concentrated more to improve the participation and empower the existing students:

  • Education of mother is low. Students having low educated mothers do not get opportunity to admit in demandable departments.
  • Mothers of respondents are hardly involved with profession. But study point to the result that no employment of mother influence low education of students.
  • An alarming cause of low participation of women in higher education is occupation of father. Fathers having Agriculture as occupation there is no respondent in science and Business faculty.
  • Students from higher size of the family cannot get access in higher education.  Present education system is so much competitive in Bangladesh. Students from joint family do not get proper facilities from family.
  • Higher family income influence in the education. Students from low income family can get chance hardly in Science and Business studies faculties.
  • Respondents are deprived of good residential facilities. This problem is associated with all of the problems. As, J.U. is a residential University seats are determined according to seats for residence. So, ensuring residential facilities are so much important.


  • Patriarchal society influence in the level of empowerment. Decision making capacity should grow up from family. Parents should obey decisions of girl child.
  • Family awareness to improve the participation of female students in higher education.
  • Arrangement of Social Safety Net programs to encourage higher education of female students’ from poor family.
  • The  government  should  sensitize  parents  on  need  and importance  of  supporting  girl  education  for  better performance.
  • The  government  should  effect  affirmative  action  in education  by  providing  for  full  fee  waiver  to  the  girl students.
  • Encouraging self confidence of female students from the family.
  • There is an overwhelming need for increased governmental programs that grant aid and loans to children that come from low-income families.
  • Arrangement of Programs, workshops, seminars to improve awareness of parents regarding female education.
  • A sector-wide review can be undertaken with the intent of identifying gaps and mismatches and their remedies in policies, strategies and programs, especially in relation to equity, efficiency and quality in the education system.

Policy suggestions for Universities:

  • Providing residential facilities to female students of University
  • Linkage between Dhaka city and J.U.
  • Merit based admission test in J.U. instead of separate seats for male and female students
  • Undertaking and implementation of gender sensitive policies regarding female higher education.

Concluding Remarks


Higher education is the formal mechanism to make changes on behavior through self actualization and autonomous, construction of knowledge etc. The study provides a result that higher education of female students depends upon the socio-economic background of them. Higher education and occupation of parents, lower size of the family, higher family income, influences education of female students are related though the result is not highly positive. Higher education in Universities encourages students to be self dependent and autonomous that’s why they involve in organizations and professions. As they are University students and are higher educated influence in the decisions of family matters. Barriers in higher education the respondents have said about lack of family support and the problems of seats in hall.

However, the present study makes room for further research, and facilitates more in-depth analysis of the research problem by narrowing down the theories, texts, and concepts used. Furthermore, for better understanding of research problem a vast study can be performed on several public and private Universities, technical and non technical Universities.