Perspectives of Educated Expatriate Bangladeshi Women About Post-Secondary Education: The Barriers Encountered and the Strategies They Have Employed
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ABSTRACT Using a qualitative methodology, I conducted this study to identify the barriers to women’s post-secondary education in Bangladesh and to investigate the possible strategies to remove those barriers, from the perspectives of three Bangladeshi women who received post-secondary education in Bangladesh and who are currently living in Canada. To explore participants’ perceptions, I used open-ended structured interviews. I then analyzed data using the conceptual framework of subsystems within an open systems theory. The study revealed that the barriers Bangladeshi women encounter when pursuing a post-secondary education are vast and complex. The findings from this study indicated that Bangladeshi women face barriers from multi-level social subsystems such as family, financial, educational, socio-cultural, political, and governmental subsystems. Six broad themes of major barriers emerged from participants’ reports: (a) financial constraints; (b) socio-cultural practices and attitudes; (c) male domination; (d) inadequate education facilities; (e) student politics and unstable political situations; and (f) corrupt government and inconsistent implementation of law and punishment. Within these six themes, the study identified various factors that hamper women’s post-secondary education in Bangladesh. The participants suggested strategies that may help those who make and implement policy find ways to minimize barriers to women’s post-secondary education in Bangladesh and beyond. The results showed that since the barriers are multifaceted, positive collaboration between the various levels of social subsystems in Bangladesh can reduce the difficulties and may profoundly change the overall Bangladeshi attitude towards women and their education. The family or the government systems alone are not enough to remove the deeply-rooted barriers to Bangladeshi women’s higher learning. Future research might explore the perceptions of a larger sample of Bangladeshi women who are in Bangladesh but could not obtain post-secondary education.
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