EXIT AND VOICE: MIGRATION, MOBILE PHONE AND WOMEN'S MOBILITY IN BANGLADESH
In the early years of Bangladesh in the 1970s, the author, an undergraduate student of sociology at Dhaka University, was invited to meet a delegate of young Americans who came to the newly-independent Bangladesh on a study tour. A young, female anthropologist in the delegation asked the author: why there were so few women seen on the streets of Dhaka. This was not obvious to the author at that time until pointed out by the American woman. The author hesitated with a tentative answer attributing the absence of women in the public to the religious strictures on women's free movement in Bangladesh where Islam was (and is) the dominant religion. And the religious prescription of seclusion (purdah) was restricting the mobility of women. By mid-1980s - in a decade's time - a large number of women were seen in the streets of Dhaka while the dominant religion remained, more or less, unchanged.