Factors shaping work-family outcomes of women bank managers in Bangladesh

Hasina Sheykh

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The aim of this research is to examine the work-family (WF) outcomes of women bank managers in Bangladesh and to analyse the factors that shape them. More specifically, with regard to the latter, the intention is to identify and consider the role of the Bangladeshi state, the policies and practices of the banks and the support available in the private sphere for women juggling work and family. The motivation for this research came about due to the recent rapid increase in women’s employment in the paid labour market in Bangladesh. In particular, the employment of well educated women in the banking sector has risen though they are still very much a minority within the banks’ workforce. The increased participation by women in paid work is raising new WF concerns though this is not an issue much discussed in Bangladesh.

The theoretical framework of this study draws on two bodies of literature; WF and gender. In addition, within the WF literature the impact of national context has been questioned regularly over recent years due to the dominance of studies in developed countries. Therefore, the impact of the Bangladeshi context is considered in detail relative to other developing and developed countries.

The data was gathered by a mixed research methods strategy using interviews-survey-interviews sequence. Phase 1 involved 16 strategic interviews with banks’ HR managers and industry experts to obtain information on the banks’ WF policies and practices. Next, 562 managerial bank employees were surveyed to learn about the employees’ WF outcomes via their experiences both at work and at home. Finally, the third phase provided detailed findings of women managers’ experiences in combining work and family responsibilities via interviews with 21 women bank managers, who are also mothers. The first and third phase data were analysed using NVivo, while the software SPSS was used to analyse survey data from the second phase.

The research findings indicate a general increase in Bangladeshi women’s participation in the paid labour market, including in the banking industry. The numbers of women, however, are still low in senior management positions. In the course of their employment, women bank managers are found combining paid work with their socially expected primary responsibility of caring for their family. Their paid employment is made possible primarily by the support at home, particularly from the paid domestic helpers and/or family members who care for the women’s children during the hours of their paid work. In the workplaces some are found working long hours, yet many of them work fewer hours than their male colleagues. There are very few formal work-family provisions for women in the banks beyond paid maternity leave; nevertheless, women have minimal expectations in this regard. Overall, the WF issue is identified as a concept about which little is known, both among the employees and the employers in the banking industry in Bangladesh.

The findings reflect the changes occurring in the position of women in Bangladesh suggesting the need for a follow-up study in later years. The impact of economic and socio-cultural context of Bangladesh is very evident throughout the study resulting in some differences in WF outcomes between Bangladeshi women and their counterparts in developed countries. It is, however, evident that there are also numerous similarities in the WF outcomes and that as further development occurs in Bangladesh, the points in common should increase.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015

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