Bangladeshi women breaking societal norms : A field study of women who are attending engineering and science educations at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Kulturgeografiska institutionen; Uppsala universitet/Kulturgeografiska institutionen

Abstract: Women and men are equal by law in Bangladesh, but the societal reality shows a different picture. By illuminating the obstacles women face when entering and choosing an engineering and science program and what enables women to overcome obstacles, this thesis aims to answer why there are fewer women than men at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).     This thesis was a field study conducted at BUET. Questionnaires was handed out to get a broader perspective of women’s experiences within science and engineering while the interviews aimed to get an in-depth perspective of women’s own experiences being in science and engineering. The empirical data has been analysed using the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT), the domestic responsibilities model and previous research about social norms within science and engineering and female networks. The thesis concludes that there are two main explanatory factors why there are fewer women than men studying science and engineering at BUET. Those factors are the social construct that science and engineering programs are more appropriate for men and that families do not have a beneficial Socioeconomic Status (SES) to allow women to study. The main factor enabling women to study and pursue an engineering and science program is family support.

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