Understanding the institutional structures surrounding the social status of women is an important topic in studies of gender and inter-generational relationships. This article uses exchange theory to examine the status and familial interactions of women in rural Bangladesh throughout their lives. Overall, their status today remains low but it does fluctuate according to a highly institutionalized pattern of family-based social expectations. Furthermore, this article shows that although the institutions defining a woman’s status appear to be stable, they are also changing because of the society’s exposure to recent worldwide advances in family planning and health care.

Author Biography

Akiko Nosaka, Independent Researcher, Montrose, Colorado

Bradford W. Andrews, Project Director, Alpine Archaeological Consultants, Inc., Montrose, Colorado