“A woman’s heaven is under the foot of her husband”

I do believe that the common sayings, maxims, proverbs, or whatever you want the call those little verses that crop up in the odd conversation in a country, are very reflective of the ways and customs of that country.  Take, for example, the common Bangla saying,  “A woman’s heaven is under the foot of her husband”.  It speaks volumes about the ways in which women are valued in Bangladesh, and many other developing countries.  Kept to the confines of their homes, not allowed to work outside their homes or go out during the evening, divorced by simply saying “I divorce you” three times, it is no wonder that manycountries that adhere to these ways are still considered “developing countries”.

But in Bangladesh I noticed a change in all of this.

I’m sure you recall the story of Gultaz, the woman who took the World Vision training program and was able to start up her own embroidery business.  You may even recall that she was told by many that she shouldn’t even attempt to ever dream of such an idea since she couldn’t even write her own name.  And may even remember how she proved them wrong and now employs 20 + women and sends her gorgeous clothing to Germany now.

And most of all you may recall, that regular custom and cultural practices frowned upon her even attempting to provide for her family, even though her husband, who was injured during a cyclone, was unable to provide for them.

But you may not know about the tears that Gultaz’s  father shed when he proudly told our group how pleased he was with his daughter that it was her strength, ingenuity, and hard work that kept her family fed and clothed and sheltered and given a chance for an education that would see the children leave the poverty cycle.

I’m thinking that the saying “A woman’s heaven is under the foot of her husband”  is going to gradually fade into a thing of the past.   Perhaps a new saying will develop soon:  “A woman and a  man’s heaven is found working side by side in harmony and unity for the betterment of the whole family.”

I like that one a whole lot better.


World Vision volunteer


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