Gendered Politics of Modernity: Family Planning and Reproductive Health
This chapter highlights the country’s population policy and how it is reflected in the programmes of family planning and reproductive health. I explain the control of reproduction via women’s bodies as a key part of the struggle for modernity for developing countries globally and specifically in Bangladesh. I demonstrate how the effort to control population size intersects with gender structures of power within Bangladeshi patriarchal society and with religious beliefs held by the people (men and women) about women being less worthy and objectified. My point is that the gendered aspects of modernity are dominant in rural Bangladesh. In this structure, men and women not only see and aspire to, but are also affected differently by, modernity. I explain this through the depiction of several case histories, showing that family planning programmes reinforce gender inequality, in particular in relation to reproductive health and domestic violence in rural Bangladesh. I examine how gender inequality is embedded in family planning, at both state and domestic levels. What are the contradictions between population control strategies and women’s reproductive health as practised in rural Bangladesh? What is the nature of the interactions between health professionals and the female clients in reproductive health care clinics?