By Moumita Saha
30 March 2014
A healthy and educated woman can play an important role in maintaining a healthy family and can also contribute her knowledge for the welfare of her community and country. However, in the rural areas of Bangladesh, health and education are the two most important areas where women encounter challenges. This is because of the socio-cultural status of women, which prevents women from getting better access to health and educational resources. Women are often unable to make decisions about their own healthcare without the approval of their husband or other family members. Moreover, people seem reluctant to discuss and improve women’s health, especially reproductive and maternal health. It often happens in the rural areas of Bangladesh that pregnant women are not given proper care, such as proper nutrition or regular check-ups during pregnancy. This often leads to the death of a pregnant mother. If a mother is given proper care during her pregnancy, then she should give birth to a healthy baby. Improved maternal health care can play a significant role in improving the lives of women and can also reduce maternal death rates. Furthermore, education is an important means of empowering women, as it allows them to realize the importance of healthcare. It also makes them realize that they should take charge of their own healthcare, especially health issues which are related to reproductive and maternal health.
However, in many rural areas of Bangladesh, girls have limited access to education. Some parents still have the mentality that a girl’s education is of no use because she will not always stay with her parents to provide financial support; after her marriage she will be at her husband’s house. As a result, parents choose to arrange a girl’s marriage at a younger age instead of educating her. They believe that it is the male child of the family who will look after his parents. This idea still prevails in rural areas because these people often do not have proper knowledge about the importance of girls’ education. Therefore, I think in order to prove them wrong, we must ensure higher education for girls. Though I was not a victim of this form of discrimination, I still understand that a girl’s path for higher education is not so smooth. I have seen how much of a struggle a girl has to go through to continue her education. I know how important higher education is; not only does it make a girl independent, but also makes her self-aware, knowledgeable, and able to lead a better life. Moreover, ensuring higher education for girls will help to reduce the inequality between men and women that prevails in the society. After my graduation, I want to conduct awareness-raising projects in the remote areas of Bangladesh, where women have less access to education. Through my projects, I plan to show parents how women can contribute their skills to the development of their community and country. It is my hope that these projects will motivate parents and thus they will allow their daughters to pursue higher education. I think this will help to bring a positive change to my community.