Women are now better off in Bangladesh than they used to be few years ago, according to the latest report of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The report 'Asian Development Outlook 2015 Update: Enabling Women, Energizing Asia' said the progress of the women was possible mainly for the structural changes that took place in the past three decades.
"Health and education outcomes have generally improved. Birth control has shrunk households, infrastructure has proliferated, and women's educational attainment has risen, narrowing gender disparity," said the report released Tuesday, said.
The report has a separate article on women empowerment in Bangladesh, particularly noting their increasing participation in education, employment and decision-making process.
"Women now have better employment options, which contribute to their greater bargaining power and improved status at home," the report said.
According to the report, female employment expanded in manufacturing, particularly in garments, with female participation in the workforce increasing significantly in rural areas from 23 per cent in 2001 to 36 percent in 2011 and urban areas from 27 per cent to 34 percent.
The ADB, however, pointed out that the share of women in the workforce was still far below the male participation rate of more than 80 per cent in both urban and rural areas.
Referring to some previous demographic and health surveys, ADB said there was a linkage between women's employment and their bargaining or decision making power.
"While women with secondary or tertiary education report significantly more bargaining power, so do women whose educational attainment is higher than that of their spouse."
Outside influences - access to information such as from reading a newspaper and such resources as membership in a microcredit or similar organization likewise expand women's decision making role. Social norms seem to matter as well, it said.
ADB also noted that women who are older and those with more sons have significantly greater decision-making power.