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Year: 2009 Type: Article Language: English

The paper analyses the discourses on women’s empowerment among the three main political parties in Bangladesh: the Awami League (AL), Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat ‐e‐ Islami. It argues that the Islamist party, Jamaat, has taken a more comprehensive view of women’s empowerment compared to the centrist parties, AL and BNP, who have an instrumentalist approach to women’s empowerment. This divergence is partly a result of the need for Jamaat to ideologically convince supporters that they have been able to deal with the challenge raised by women’s movement successfully. The centrist parties are able to disregard this pressure, and are perhaps reluctant to antagonize potential voters by appearing too ‘un‐Islamic.’