Dhaka: Despite the appreciation earned by Bangladesh for the empowerment of women in recent decades, most men in the country still believe wife beating is acceptable, according to a study published to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The study carried out by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Dhaka-based ICDDR’B found that 89 per cent of men in villages thought husbands had the right to mildly beat their wives to correct them.

The study also said 83 per cent of the urban male population held this view.

Moreover, 93 per cent of urban men and 98 per cent of rural men believed that one needs to be tough to become a real man and 50 per cent of urban men and 65 per cent of rural men thought women need to tolerate repression to save their families.

The ICDDR’B carried out the study with the assistance of the UNFPA, quizzing 2,400 people in cities and villages and also revealing that most men think only males should have the right to take decisions for the family.

Development goals

Bangladesh recently achieved the UN-set Millennium Development Goal (MDG), drastically reducing the maternal mortality rate and ensuring the maximum enrolment of girls in school.

Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina and her archrival Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have alternately been prime minister and opposition leader in parliament from 1991 to 2014. Women have also been inducted into various civil service cadres, including police, army and civil administration for the past several decades.

The army started recruiting female officers in combat units, a change from when only women doctors could serve in uniform in the armed forces.

Earlier this month, Bangladesh appointed for the first time a woman as the vice-chancellor of a major public university, visibly part of an enhanced campaign for women empowerment in the country.

Several women are now also serving as judges in the Sup-reme Court, while the higher judiciary of the country previously was the arena of male judges alone.