Women Rights

Women remain among the most vulnerable and disempowered groups in Bangladesh. Cultural practices such as early marriage, polygamy, dowry, female seclusion, and arbitrary (oral) divorce contribute to women’s subordinate status; while religion has been used to sanction these practices. Lack of awareness of their rights coupled with deeply rooted gender inequalities seriously constrains women’s access to appropriate, gender-sensitive justice. NU thus works to empower women and promote their effective participation in Shalish procedures and other community decision-making processes and activities.

Provisions and Strategies

  • Leadership capacity-building of grassroots women’s group leaders, including elected women members of the union council
  • Enhancing effective participation of women leaders in the local development committees as well as social activities, including participation in community mediation
  • Initiating women’s group meetings to develop awareness of legal and human rights
  • Monitoring Shalish procedures to ensure the enforcement of women’s rights
  • Extending the provision of legal aid to women
  • Establishment of a network between the elected women representatives and women’s groups/leaders

Impacts and Achievements

  • Increased number of women leaders at community level and increased status of women in social decision-making process
  • Increased number of women receiving legal aid; frequently for the first time
  • Increased confidence and attendance of women in Shalish and awareness-raising workshops and programmes
  • Attendance at community level women’s rights meetings by elected representatives
  • NU’s facilitation of annual grassroots level Bangladeshi women leaders’ conferences in NU project areas
  • Women at community level now organize and manage a regular newsletter called Narir Shopno patha (Women’s Dream Pages)