This article was published in the November edition of The ULABian, a student newspaper published by The University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh.

By Mahnaz Khan, ULAB’s School of Business

Sabiha Sultana

It isn’t at all easy to manage a house and studies at the same time! Although the majority of female students at ULAB are not yet married, I know several who manage their house and studies very efficiently.  Sabiha Sultana, for example, is a student of ULAB’s English and Humanities Department.  She is married and in her fourth term – and has a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.93!

Sabiha described the challenges she has overcome to achieve academic success.  She said, “I was married three months before my HSC board exam.  My studies could have ended after marriage if my husband hadn’t helped me out.  My in-laws are still unsupportive about my education, even after two years of marriage and having a child as well.”

Like Sabiha, some students also have children, and therefore have huge responsibilities on their shoulders.  After reaching home in the evening, the mothers play with their children for a while before finishing off the cooking.  After feeding their children, they put them to bed – and only then can they sit down to study.  When their husbands return from work, the women serve them food and chat for a while.  Afterwards, there may be time for further study.

Sabiha’s day starts at 5am.  She said, “I wake up early to prepare breakfast and lunch for everyone.  After dropping my son off at my mum’s house, I start attending classes from 8am.  I mostly travel by tempo because it is very fast and saves me time. I pick up my son on my way home and then I prepare dinner and give him a little time before taking him to bed.  After taking some rest, I wake early to begin the routine again…  I spend most of my time at ULAB in the campus library because I can’t study at home.  Sometimes it’s a little maddening for my husband, because I can’t give him any time!”

She concluded, “This is how I manage my study and life… This is how it is.”

Some of the married female students also have part-time jobs.  If that is the case, their children stay with their grandmother so they can attend classes and work.  After all of that, when the female students return home, many will spend at least two hours preparing the evening meal!  Afterwards they will study and take care of their household. However there are also couples who share the cooking or other chores on the basis of who gets home earlier.

Adiba Raisa Hossain

Adiba Raisa Hossain, a student in her eighth term at ULAB’s Department of English and Humanities, said, “I don’t have a child yet.  Besides cooking, I do the dishes after we eat, and the laundry.  Keeping the house clean and tidy is my husband’s department.”

“I actually have two part time jobs,” she added.

“I am currently working as a research and public relations intern at ULAB’s Institute for Sustainable Development.  In the evening, I work as an apprentice chef under renowned chefs Gerard Wallace and James Boon at Bellagio.”

Thus we can see that the married women of ULAB are diligent and passionate!  The fact that they are capable of studying and maintaining so many responsibilities shows a zeal for independence.  It is obvious that ULAB plays an important role here, as Adiba Raisa Hossain explains, “My department’s faculty has always been extraordinarily supportive and understanding towards me.”  ULAB frequently offers make-up classes to assist those who were unable to attend due to family responsibilities.

Likewise, the 10 percent student fee waiver for females shows that ULAB encourages women to study at university level.  In a developing nation such as Bangladesh, females must think of making their careers bright.  This article is a prize for all those hard-working girls!