Press Release

Social Equity is the Precondition to Gender Equity   


04 March 2021, ActionAid Bangladesh, Dhaka

Women rights will be ensured only when social equality is established said Firdous Azim, Professor of English and chair of the Department of English and Humanities at BRAC University and also Member of Naripokkho.  She said this while addressing a webinar on 04 March 2021 organised by ActionAid Bangladesh ahead of International Women’s Day 2021 to celebrate the achievements of women leaders from different generations all over Bangladesh.   

On the other hand, Rasheda K Chowdhury, Academic and Former Adviser, caretaker Government of Bangladesh said, women rights have always been stumbled in our textbook. Even writings of women writers are being removed from the textbooks. She also called upon for bringing social changes to eradicate all kinds of uncertainties for women in educational institutions.

Speakers in the webinar highlighted the issues of bravery, successes, and reasons behind the marginalisation of women leaders at local and national level. Veteran women leaders shared the history of 50 years of women’s leadership while fostering women’s movement and working to ensure the right and access to education and land for women. Young women leaders also expressed their views on future of women leadership in Bangladesh.       

Gender diversity was nowhere to be found in the women's movement. No special action has been taken even for the transgender women said gender and sexual rights activist and trans feminist Hochemin Islam. She also urged that transformed people need to be included in mainstream to prevail their rights.

While expressing her view, ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir said, “Women leadership has come a long way in Bangladesh. However, just because women leaders have done well, does not mean that has been able to change the minds of people which are guided by strong stereotyped political, social, and cultural values”.

“Women are underrepresented in many spheres and the number of women in positions of decision making are still few and far between in every sector, including, politics, business, corporate, media, health and education”, Farah Kabir added.

She also stated that ActionAid globally works to address gender inequality by addressing violence against women and the lack of women leadership by supporting women’s political and civic participation. ActionAid works through partners and with civil society to transform ideas, attitudes, and beliefs about the roles of women and men to achieve gender justice.

Among others, Khushi Kabir, Coordinator, Nijera Kori; Monjushree Chakma journalist, rights activist and researcher; Dr. SM. Akbar, Managing Director, UBICO; Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, Chief Coordinator, Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery; Nurul Islam Bhuiyan, Social Activist; and Dr. SM. Akbar, Managing Director, UBICO spokes in the webinar.  

The speakers also lauded the achievements of ActionAid Bangladesh in addressing various important issues, including, gender-based violence, worker rights, climate justice and emergency response. 

At the end of the webinar, a total of four persons were awarded ' 15th Nasreen Smriti Padak-2021', for their outstanding contributions to society and women empowerment. This Award is a signature initiative by ActionAid Bangladesh in memory of Nasreen Parvin Huq, former Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh. 

This year Sohanur Rahman, Susmita Sultana Swarnali, MS Hasna Begum and MS Rani Begum have been awarded the ‘15th Nasreen Smriti Padak-2021' for Setting an example against sexual harassment and abuse, Women Leadership in the Local Government System, Women Entrepreneurs in Agriculture and Women Leadership in COVID-19 response respectively. Considering the special contribution of four people in these four areas, ActionAid Bangladesh handed over crest to them.