Governance by Women Leaders in Union Parishad in Bangladesh: Unheard Voices from the Grassroots

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Mizanur Rahman



Union Parishad (UP) has been serving as the lowest rural local government in Bangladesh since 1870. Women’s representation in the UP first began with the nomination system in 1976. Again women’s representation in the UP received further momentum in 1997 with the provision of direct adult franchise. Within these 2 decades time span, women leaders (WLs) have failed to ensure their effective participation in the UP. But it is deemed that through their ceaseless struggle and limited participation, WLs have contributed to governance in the UP. Against such a context, the paper is aimed at unraveling the research questions: how do WLs contribute to governance in the UP in Bangladesh?  The paper is based on qualitative research methods that include hermeneutic phenomenological analysis, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), case study, content analysis and observation methods. The findings of the paper reveal that the WLs are promoting governance though establishing transparency, accountability, social justice and reducing corruption in the UP. WLs are also trying to transform rural governance through increasing pro-poor benefits for the community people and maintaining better quality of development projects and following participative management style in the UP.

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