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'Women playing vital role in rural economy'

September 12, 2019 00:00:00

It is not possible to make economy of any country prosperous through only urban development. So equal development of rural and urban areas is a must for overall development including economy of any country, reports BSS.

If we look at the developing countries of the world, it is seen that their rural economy is very strong. And females are playing an important role than the males in strengthening the rural economy.

Thanks to the Bangladesh government's policy of equal development of rural and urban areas, many people are contributing to the country's economy, especially rural economy, after leaving towns.

Ayesha Khatun of Bilaichhari in Bandarban district is such a woman. She came to Dhaka few years back after holding the hands of her friend Shaheda. As she wished to help her parent, she took a job at a RMG factory in the beginning. Her salary was Tk 7,000 at that time.

Though Ayesha worked as a helper in the factory first, she learned sewing work slowly. After two-year work in this way, her salary increased to Tk 8,500. After sending Tk 4,000 to home, she struggled to arrange food and accommodation with the remaining money.

Then, she decided to return to her Bilaichhari village in Lama upazila. After going there, Ayesha took training on cutting cloth with the assistance of an NGO. After the three-month training, she herself started sewing work in her house after purchasing sewing machines.

Though she first struggled to get customers, her reputation spread gradually. Since then, Ayesha did not need to look backward.

Ayesha bore all expenses of her marriage and before it she bought two battery-run rickshaws for her younger brother with her deposited money.

Like Ayesha, many women are going back to their own villages after leaving towns and they are trying to be self-reliant by earning money to a some extent. As a result, labour force of the women is increasing at villages and rural economy is vibrating.

According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the rate of women participation in labour force is more at villlages than towns. The position of the females in labour force in the towns in 1995-96 was 20.5 per cent against 17.4 per cent at villages. Till 2003, the rate was higher in urban areas.

The latest 2016-17 statistics, the rate rose to 38.6 per cent at villages. On the other hand, it declined to 31 per cent at villages. Sixty per cent of women engaged in rural labour force are working in agriculture sector.

The 2015-16 BBS statistics said the participation of women in the total labour force is 35.6 per cent. At the divisional level, the rate is more in Rajshahi, Khulna and Rangpur divisions.

Rajshahi topped with 49.8 per cent, followed by Khulna 42.2 per cent, Rangpur 41.5 per cent, Chattogram 34 per cent, Dhaka 29.9 per cent, Barishal 29.8 per cent and Sylhet lowest with 23.3pc.

Ayesha said the present government after assuming office did many works for the development of the womenfolk. But most of them do not know about it.

There are many facilities through which they can earn money and become self-reliant by sitting at the house.

Maria Sarkar, a women movement activist, said previously the womenfolk used to come to the towns from villages for changing their lot. Its main reason was garment industry.

Mainly the women used to move to towns for bearing own expenses by working in these garment factories. The most of these women who work in these factories hail from various regions of North Bengal. Its reason is that poverty rate of these areas was more in compared to other regions. After assuming office by the Awami League government, Maria Sarkar said, the picture of these areas has almost changed because this government believes in women empowerment. Simultaneously, the government wants to vibrate the rural economy for overall development of the country.

To achieve the goal, a number of initiatives have been undertaken and among them, "Amar Bari, Amar Khamar" is the most popular project. Eminent economist Professor Dr Sekandar Islam said after being encouraged in the "My House, My Farm" project, farms have been set up in most of the rural houses.

Many people are cultivating vegetables at their homesteads or cultivating fishes in their ponds alongside rearing ducks, chicken, goats, lambs and cows. And women of these houses are mostly doing these works. As a result, they are becoming self-reliant economically in one hand, while the rural economy is being vibrated on the other hand.

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