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Subordination and Struggle: Women in Bangladesh
Bangladesh belongs to what has been described as a belt of ‘classic patriarchy’  which stretches from northern Africa across the Middle East to the northern plains of the Indian sub-continent. [*] The social structures in this belt are characterized by their institutionalization of extremely restrictive codes of behaviour for women. They stand in marked contrast to the societies of south India and much of Southeast Asia whose institutions and practices permit a more egalitarian system of gender relations.  In as much as both Muslim and non-Muslim societies are encompassed within this belt, Islam is only partially implicated in their extreme forms of female subordination. What the societies have in common are the practice of rigid gender segregation, specific forms of family and kinship and a powerful ideology linking family honour to female virtue. Men are entrusted with safeguarding family honour through their control over female members; they are backed by complex social arrangements which ensure the protection—and dependence—of women.
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