CGTN: Improving gender equality for women in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is probably not a country leading in gender equality but a grassroots organization is doing a good job in empowering women, the CGTN America news channel reports.

A grassroots organization for poor rural women teaches about the benefits and rights women are entitled to. The forum is created by the world’s largest developmental NGO, Bangladesh’s BRAC, which aims to empower people living in poverty.

Bangladesh has a woman prime minister as well as female cabinet ministers and ambassadors. But outside of politics it still has a lot of work to do to raise the status of ordinary women, particularly those living in rural areas and in poverty.

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina /CFP Photo

Women now head nine of the country’s 64 districts. But even those in high posts usually still have less status within their families than the males.

“Within the family decision-making, traditionally it is men that decide what will be done, what will be purchased, all important decisions are taken by the men, that’s the traditional social rule in Bangladesh. Similarly in public life, a woman has limited public life,” Kam Morshed, director of BRAC said.

A woman worker carries a basket filled with coal on her head in the Gabtoli region of Dhaka with less salary than men for the same job. /CFP Photo

That is starting to change. An equal number of girls and boys now attend primary and secondary school.

Micro-finance, in which Bangladesh was a pioneer, has helped millions of women emerge from poverty. And industries such as the all-important garment sector in which women from 80 percent of the workforce are starting to transform attitudes.

The increase in employment is boosting women’s role in decision-making in the home, increasing their self-confidence and making women’s voices better heard in Bangladesh society.



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