Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |Volume 6, Issue 10, Tuesday, March 08, 2011




Boat race in Barisal

Kadmbari is a village in Barisal where an NGO named Tarango is going to organise a boat race on the occasion of International Women's Day.

The NGO hosting the event employs women across Bangladesh to weave baskets and handbags from locally produced and dyed jute and sells them in the international market. They have had a presence in this community for almost 30 years, and after three decades of employing local women, (they now have up to 800 women entrepreneurs in Kadambari) they have such a vital role in the local economy that Kadambari's men have started to work for their wives because the salary is more consistent and higher than most other local alternatives.

Every year Tarango hosts a celebration for International Women's Day in Kadambari. This year the women of the village wanted a boat race. In a community where livelihoods are traditionally based around fishing and plying the area's many canals and rivers, it makes some sense that the women would want an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of boating. But at first they were hesitant about how the rest of the community would react.

The main objective of celebrating this day in Agoiljhora is to empower women, raise their voices, raise awareness of injustice and recognise their rights. This year, Tarango with the financial support of Nestle, will celebrate the day with the women entrepreneurs of Kadambari, and Agoiljhara, Barisal.

Boat racing is a traditional game of Bangladesh and mostly males take part in it. In Agoiljhora, most of the women are now engaged in income generating processes but they are still struggling to establish their positions in society. Thus, the women of Agoiljhora chose a boat race, as a part of celebrating the day, to establish their aptitude.

Last year, thousands of people, including men, women and children from all walks of life gathered on both sides of the river to enjoy the race. They greeted the teams with thunderous applause. Seeing the overwhelming response of last year's success, the women of Kadambari and Kohinoor Yeasmin, CEO of Tarango, were inspired to organise the boat race this year, too.

By Farizaa Sabreen


The stork that arrives late

One of the prime reasons the Almighty created human beings was procreation. Although he did not give any one of the genders the sole ability to do so, the ratio by which he distributed the responsibilities can almost be summed to 90:10.

The hardships and emotions that women have to go through to create a new life can never be matched by the part men have to play in doing so. Despite the excruciating pain and difficulty that they have to face, there is one common objective that every woman shares: to be a mother.

No matter which walk of life they are from, whether they are village women, career oriented women or home makers, at some point in their lives they wish to bring their own flesh and blood into this world.

A few generations back, when girls were married off really early, having kids at around 14 to 15 years of age was typical. With the progress of society in terms of educating women that age is no more typical for having children rather, girls at this age are considered to be children themselves.

As women's employment and independence has developed to a greater extent most of them choose to have a greater say in deciding when to start a family unlike their predecessors. While most women choose to have kids within their thirties there is an increasing number of women who decide to reproduce much later, in their 40s. Not that all of them decide to have children late; some are compelled by circumstances.

Whether it is because of the wait to attain financial stability, marrying late or just fate, like everything else, having a child after the age of 40 has its pros and cons. Sabina, a mother of three says, “I had my daughter at 41 and I find it quite difficult to keep up with her unlike during the earlier years of the other two.”

As raising a child is quite energy-draining, most late moms would have similar complaints of finding it difficult in terms of energy and attention to keep up with their new little ones. Constantly attending to their needs as infants, taking them to school, giving them time can be quite strenuous.

Medically speaking, having a child late in life is usually not considered to be the safest option both for the child and the mother. Pregnancy complications are not the only concern, getting pregnant is a concern too.

The longer one waits to have babies the more the chances of naturally conceiving deteriorate. Advances in technology have aided many mothers to overcome that predicament. 45 year-old, second time mother Hena Mahmud was most joyous when she finally had her first baby after 22 years of marriage, thanks to science.

One of the plus points of having children late is that the parents are most likely to be more financially secure than their younger counterparts. A number of women choose to have their second children many years after their first ones. By doing this they can complete their family and also be established enough to raise another baby.

This is especially true for career-oriented women. For these women having a baby earlier may pose as a, well one could say, distraction in their careers. Having kids later in life provides the opportunity for them to achieve goals in their work without any obstacles as well as raise children with less work pressure.

To add to that, older mothers tend to have more experiences and greater time to grow resulting in their taking better decisions for their children as well as themselves in terms of food habits and other such things.

Having a baby is, beyond doubt, a life changing event for every woman. Whether early in life or late, raising a child brings a different set of experiences for each woman. How important it is for women to have children is only proved by the fact that babies are adopted into numerous families where the mother is unable to have children of her own and other alternatives are too expensive.

Whenever they choose to do it every woman must try this once otherwise they may miss out on one of the most beautiful experiences that the Almighty has endowed human kind with.

By Karishma Ameen


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