University | News
AUW Researchers Identify Persistent Discrimination Despite Growing Opportunities for Women in South Asia
Chittagong, Bangladesh
3, Oct, 2016

October 3, 2016, Chittagong, Bangladesh – AUW students and faculty presented findings from their three-year-long research project funded by Ford Foundation. AUW researchers documented changes in women’s professional and educational opportunities across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. AUW’s research team also explored how women’s empowerment is perceived by various communities in these countries, and how these social changes affect gender relations within families.

The research findings show that increased workforce participation and education among women has generally increased their confidence and decision-making power in society. However, the study also finds persistent and varied barriers to women’s education and employment, such as gender-based violence, restrictions on women’s mobility, families’ preferences to educate sons instead of daughters, and discriminatory national laws. The researchers argue that policymakers must address these barriers if women are to reap the full benefits of education and employment.

According to one of the study’s principal investigators, AUW Professor Varuni Ganepola, “This project is about empowering our students. They are involved at all phases of design, implementation, analysis and dissemination of research results. As young women from Asia studying at a university that emphasizes female empowerment and leadership, our students are experiencing some of the expanding opportunities we have studied. They are also negotiating gender relations in their families as a result of their decision to study at AUW.”

To see photos and a full recap of the study, please visit: Family Empowerment Study website