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Base de Datos Género y Derecho a la Tierra

Bangladesh

In 2007, the population was estimated at 142.6 million, of which 49 percent were women. About 75 percent of the population lived in rural areas (1). In 2001, there were 95.4 women for every 100 men living in rural areas (2). Population density was 996 people per square kilometre in 2007 (1). The main ethnic group is the Bengali which accounts for 98 percent of the total population (3). Other indigenous ethnic minorities groups include: the Santals and the Garos, which are largest ethnic groups in the plains (4); and indigenous ethnic groups, collectively identified as the Jumma people, in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), in the south-eastern part of the country (5).The main religious communities are the Muslims, who accounted for 89 percent of the population in 2006 and the Hindus who represented  9.34 percent (6).

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated at USD 84.94 billion in 2008, with a real GDP growth of 4.9 percent (3). The per capita GDP was USD 554 in 2007-08 (1). The annual GDP growth rate has been stable at about 5 percent since the mid-1990s, 3 percent above the population growth rate. In 2006, readymade garments were the main item of export, contributing to 75 percent of the total export earnings (7). Although the share of agriculture to the GDP has decreased over the last few years, it reached 19.1 percent in 2008 (3). Services accounted for 52.3 percent of GDP and the industry accounted for 28.6 percent. Additionally, a large portion of the industry’s contribution to the GDP is also agriculture-related, primarily through the frozen food, jute and leather industries (7). Agriculture employs about 60 percent of the total labour force and provides for over half of the income of rural households through farming or wage labour on farms (7). However, in 2004, the per capita agricultural GDP was USD 164, making less than half of the national average of USD 371 (7). Rice is the main crop, grown on nearly 80 percent of the cultivated land (8), and thanks to which the country has achieved self-sufficiency (7). Other crops include sugarcane, jute, wheat, tobacco, pulses, oil seeds, spices, vegetables and fruits (1).

With a Human Development Index (HID) of 0.526 in 2006, the country ranks 147th out of 179 countries measured (9). In 2005, 49.6 percent of the population lived under the USD 1 per day poverty line (10). The number of undernourished people reached 43.1 million, 30 percent of the entire population, in 2001-2003 (11). Life expectancy at birth in 2007 was estimated at 67.9 years for women and 65.4 years for men (1). Literacy rates were generally low and showed a wide gender gap: 45.8 percent of women and 57.2 percent of men were literate in 2004 (6).

In 2007, women accounted for 53.6 percent of the total labour force (3). Rural women are very actively involved in agricultural production and make up 45.6 percent of the farming population, although 70 percent of them work as unpaid family labourers. Women also engage in forestry, fisheries and livestock production and contribute to the household income through wage labour, although they earn only 71 percent of what men do. About 60 to 70 percent of women from landless and near-landless households work as agricultural wage labourers. In sericulture, women contribute nearly half the total work hours, mainly through silkworm rearing and cocoon reeling activities (8).

Less than 10 percent of rural people have enough land to provide for their livelihoods (12). Over the last 10 years, the number of landless people in rural areas has increased by about 5 percent annually; in 2005, 10.7 percent of households were landless (12). Many landless people work as agricultural labourers or sharecroppers who tend the land of absentee land owners, passing back 50 percent of the crop (13). In 1987, the Land Ministry launched the Land Reforms Action Programme to distribute state-owned land – known as khas land – to landless families. However, the Programme redistributed only 40 percent of the available identified khas land over a period of two and a half years (14): an estimated total of 16 843 acres of land have been distributed to 167 867 landless people (15).

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