Improving gender equality for women in Bangladesh

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Improving gender equality for women in Bangladesh

Bangladesh may not come to mind as a country leading gender equality. But a grassroots organization is empowering women there.

CGTN’s Rian Maelzer reports.

Improving gender equality for women in Bangladesh

Improving gender equality for women in Bangladesh

Bangladesh may not come to mind as a country leading gender equality. But a grassroots organization is empowering women there. CGTN's Rian Maelzer reports.
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A meeting of a grassroots organization for poor rural women, created by world’s largest developmental NGO, Bangladesh’s BRAC which is the world’s largest development organization, dedicated to empowering people living in poverty.

It’s a forum for women to learn about the benefits and rights they’re entitled to. Bangladesh has a woman prime minister, cabinet ministers, ambassadors, engineers, and pilots. But 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.

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.

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.