Taniya Laizu Sumy, Manager- Curriculum and Material Development, SHIKHON Program, Save the Children
Some queries to Martha Mam.
by Taniya Laizu Sumy - Monday, 20 October 2014, 3:28 PM

Dear Martha Mam, we are very much happy by getting you among us. Hope to enrich us with learning by your participation!

As you know, In Bangladesh women are lagging behind in almost all aspects of empowerment. But in documents it is shown that girls are positively discriminated in basic education that is girls are more enrolled and doing better in Basic education. In SHIKHON program of Save the Children almost 100% teachers are female but the representation of female in management committee is not too high. Not only in SHIKHON program in all sectors of Bangladesh too, women representation is not very significant in leading and managing any program in spite of having equal competency level. I have some queries to Martha Mam on this issue:

  • As girls are doing equal or better in basic education but the picture becomes reverse in secondary or higher secondary because of significant drop out of girls from schools due to mainly child marriage. My question is how the girls/female participation can be ensured for positive changes from this situation? What types of methods should I conduct to deal with this problem?
  • A good number of females are home maker. They do diversified jobs for family and society. But they are not well acknowledged. Even it is applicable for the girls who are hired for domestic work. To conduct a research on it what should be the methodologies? How the sampling can be drawn? Should the male also involved in the research? How?
  • In Bangladesh transgender is considered as third gender by law. But they are vulnerable everywhere. As per Education for All declaration they should be enrolled in schools too. But in reality, they do not and it is shown that this types of marginalized people get engaged in different crimes and bad jobs. How they could be under the EFA achievement? What types of policy advocacy can be done on it? 

Thank you very much.

With Sincere Regards.


Picture of PIA Admin
Re: Some queries to Martha Mam.
by PIA Admin - Monday, 20 October 2014, 11:20 PM

Dear Taniya

Thank you very much for these critical questions in relation to the education of the girl child.


African Proverb of the Month September, 1999

“If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation)”.

This well-known saying is attributed to the Ghanaian scholar Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey (1875-1927), one of this century's greatest educators. Kwegyir-Aggrey probably used this proverb to convince African parents who were more willing to allow their male children to attend missionary schools than their daughters. Like many sayings, this one makes its point by unqualified exaggeration to capture our attention. The message here is that once we know the value of education for men in society, we should allow women to have equal access to it. Education is used here to mean knowing, through formal or informal means, what is right for the spirit, mind and body and acting upon this knowledge.


Since the issue of girls dropping out of school is related to early marriage, it must be tackled by an awareness drive on the ill-effects of early marriage on both the health of the young mother, as well as the negative consequences of an under-educated mother on the future of her own children.


Focused group discussion is a good starting point for such issues and a follow up with ICT material reinforces the point you are trying to stress upon.

It will be great to have:

  • a female doctor speak on the ill effects of adolescents who become young mothers
  • a speaker who showcases examples of young girls who are educated supporting their children and their families & the value of an educated woman in the new world order
  • young girls who speak about their desire to study and become more knowledgeable


Your query regarding how to collect data on the attitudes towards home based workers, you might like to choose questionnaires to get information on the issue. You may use random sampling methodology in order to capture the views of a diverse population of people. Your sample size must have both male and female respondents, so that you may compare their responses. Men may also be asked to gather data for such a research. This may be followed by a group discussion on the data that has been received.

Your last question on the third gender is very interesting, as is your query on how they can be enrolled in schools. While there is a law obviously the implementation is weak. Further, schools – the principal, management, administration staff and teachers are biased towards the third gender.  Sensitisation of the school staff is critical to change their attitude and increase their information on the third gender using a rights based approach. Workshops are a powerful tool for doing so. Further it will be interesting to conduct a survey to highlight their different parts of the school system that are discriminatory towards the third gender and how these can overcome to make the environment more conducive and inclusive to all students.

For example – does the form for enrolment have only male and female options, or is there a space for the third gender.

Does the school have a diversity policy?

Are there any third gender staff in the school?

Is there any affirmative action for children who are third gender?


Social media may be used effectively to create a buzz about this issue to garner public support for the same FB, Twitter, Blogging etc. Hope that this response has answered your queries.




Taniya Laizu Sumy, Manager- Curriculum and Material Development, SHIKHON Program, Save the Children
Re: Some queries to Martha Mam.
by Taniya Laizu Sumy - Tuesday, 21 October 2014, 10:21 AM

Dear Martha Mam,

Thank you very much for your nice and clear response. The African proverb recited by Dr. Kwegyir-Aggrey is now the universal proverb specially significant for third world countries. Now in Bangladesh parents mainly mothers are getting educated through parenting education program for ensuring child rights. ``Education is used here to mean knowing, through formal or informal means, what is right for the spirit, mind and body and acting upon this knowledge." I believe in it and this statement is really food for my thought.

Using ICT materials in parenting sessions is now in practice as piloting in Save the Children. It could be planned well. For preventing child marriage, the child protection sector is running their program. We need to integrate our education and health program as per your suggestion.

For third gender, I agree with your perception. Whatever the law is, the implementation is so weak. The law is also new in our country. Till now, we do not have any option of third gender in official form, no school level diversity policy exists. Bangladesh Government is now going to develop Inclusive Education framework but as of my knowledge this issue is not addressed there. No third gender staff is encouraged in schools and no affirmative action for the children who are third gender. We have still enough space to work on it..

I would like to thank you for the direction. I can search more by linking your information. Could you please suggest for some research reports or journals or books on education where gender issue is focused well? It will be my pleasure if you send any link of your writing on women political empowerment. Can I get the status of this sub-continent? This will help me to enrich my knowledge.

With sincere Regards,