Involvement of Rural Women in Managing their Natural Resources and Environmental Decision Making: A Study of Coastal Villages in Bangladesh
About 80% people of Bangladesh live in rural areas and among these people, 49% are women. Eighty six percent of the total population of women live in rural areas. Each and everyday they encounter different types of social, cultural and economic exploitation and are deprived of education, health and optimum nutrition. In rural Bangladesh, the dimensions of development encompasses poverty alleviation, reduction in inequality, access to social services (education, training, health) and improved human capability, freedom of participation (enlarged choice) in social, political, economic and cultural pursuits, i.e., establishment of environmental sustainability. To ensure the sustainable development, both male and female participation in development activities is essential. In this regard, increasing women’s participation in natural resource management from the grass root level is crucial to enhance the rural development. In recent years, the natural resources base in coastal areas has been greatly depleted due to mainly climatic and anthropogenic factors. With this minimum and degrading level of natural resources, rural women are managing their daily activities adapting with the changing environment. They do not restrict their activities only into the household works and spread their field of work from cooking to income generating activities utilizing the natural resources available in their locality e.g., court yard gardening, water body management, fuel collection, plantation, and sanitation. The study explores how rural women of coastal villages in Bangladesh participate in managing their natural resources in daily life and in taking decisions of environmental related issues.
Keywords: Rural Women, Natural Resources, Environmental Decision, Bangladesh
Mohammad Shahidul Hasan Swapan
Lecturer, Urban and Rural Planning Discipline, Khulna University
Undergraduate Student, Urban and Rural Planning Discipline, Khulna University