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The objectives of this project are threefold: 1) to document change and opportunities for women in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan; 2) to describe how these changes and opportunities are perceived in Muslim communities in these countries by both men and women and 3) to understand how these changing experiences for women are impacting on gender relations in the family. In short, this study is about understanding how families in these societies are dealing with some of the most important changes occurring around them, and thus developing what kinds of resources are necessary for families to adapt to and manage these change in a way that is empowering for both women and men.

This research is being informed by the theory and research in the sociology and psychology of change, gender and the family.  Through this project, we will be able to gain insight into how structural and macro-level changes translate into changes in attitudes, behaviors and relationships and micro-level dynamics.  This will help to expand the theoretical understanding of the sociology and psychology of change, gender and family, as well as improve the way policies and programs about gender and family are developed and implemented.

This project is also about contributing to the empowerment of our students.  This is why student involvement is central in this research.  This project is designed so that student research assistants at the Asian University for Women (AUW) are involved at all phases of design, implementation, analysis and dissemination of research results.  Moreover, the research questions of this project are very important for our students.  As young women from Asia in a university that emphasizes female empowerment and leadership, these young women are both experiencing some of the expanding opportunities we will be studying in this research, as well as having to negotiate gender relations in their own families as a result of their decisions to choose to be at AUW.  Thus through this study, our students will gain knowledge, perspective and experience on how they can negotiate and enact their own empowerment, as well as how they may lead other young men and women through these changes.  Moreover, for both outreach purposes as well as research design purposes, AUW research assistants will pair up with male interviewers in their home communities for the fieldwork purposes.

You can learn more about the Research Team by clicking here.

The Ford Foundation has funded this research for the period of September 1 2013-August 31 2016, and the projects activities are also supported by the Asian University for Women.  The grant is in support of the Ford Foundation’s focus on education and women’s empowerment issues.

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