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Monsoor, Taslima (1994) From Patriarchy to Gender Equity: Family Law and Its Impact on Women in Bangladesh. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis constitutes a detailed assessment of the legal position of women in Bangladesh and argues that, despite some recent reforms purporting to improve their status, there is no real change in the situation of patriarchal domination. It is further argued that the dominant patriarchal structures, with the interlinked forces of religion, tradition and seclusion, are sustained not only in family life but also in family law. The thesis illustrates some confusions in the debates about the legal position of women and suggests that the lack of conceptual clarity has handicapped a discussion of the real needs of women in family law within a patriarchally-dominated legal framework. Based on a detailed exposition of family law under the British colonial regime and Pakistani state law, the present study focuses on the more recent Bangladeshi legal developments. These were officially brought about to meet certain social needs and to improve the overall situation of women. However, apart from the reforms concerning the Family Courts Ordinance of 1985, and some glimpses of judicial activism, in reported as well as unreported cases, the existing family law reforms are shown to be mainly procedural. In particular, they appear unable to protect women effectively from violence and economic deprivation. While not arguing for absolute gender equality, although this is apparently provided as a paper right in the Constitution of Bangladesh, the present study proposes that gender equity in family law can be meaningfully developed by better implementation of the existing law, prominently by sensitising the judiciary and society about the particular needs of women.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:21

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