|Kanti Ananta Nuzhat
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Bangladesh has experienced phenomenal growth in urbanization since its Liberation in 1971. The total urban population grew from only 5 million in 1971 to an estimated 42 million in 2011 with an average annual growth of over 5%. Similarly the level of urbanization in Bangladesh leaped from under 8% to over 28% between the two periods. Meanwhile, Dhaka, the capital, has transformed itself into the sixth most populous mega city of the world with nearly 15 million people to day.
Urbanization is considered to be an engine of growth. It is also the case in Bangladesh where the urban economy is contributing to more than 65% of the national economy. A very significant feature of the economic role in urbanization in Bangladesh in the recent time is the increased participation of women in the urban labour force. They contribute to the modern formal sectors like manufacturing (most significantly in garment industries), personal and professional services and top managerial and entrepreneurial positions as well as in the traditional and informal sectors, especially in domestic service and small trades. Surprisingly the academic and research interest in the changing pattern of the urban women labour force has been rather scanty.
Kanti Ananta Nuzhat’s Research Monograph, based on her Bachelor Thesis (2006) in Economics at North South University, is a very interesting exploratory work on the subject. She was fortunate to have Dr. Amirul Islam Choudhury, an eminent urban economist and Professor at NSU at the time and an Honorary Vice Chairman of the Centre for Urban Studies (CUS), as her supervisor. Nuzhat herself is a Member of the Centre. A lecturer at NSU, she is currently working on her doctorate in Economics at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
CUS is celebrating its 40th Founding Anniversary this year and is pleased to begin its anniversary publication programme with Nuzhat’s monograph. I am sure this work will be useful to those interested in the dynamics of the urban economy of a developing third world country. We encourage other young urban researchers to come forward with their manuscripts for publication by CUS.