Leadership and Participation
As national governments are devolving powers to local bodies, an increasing presence of women in governance at local and district levels in Bangladesh is progressively more evident. With the added advantage of a quota for women in the national parliament, the provision for technical guidance and solidarity to new women entrants is an imperative role for UN Women in realizing gender equality.
Bangladesh has 19 percent women’s representation in the national Parliament. To increase this representation, UN Women in Bangladesh builds capacity, capability and knowledge of elected women representatives. This includes primary stakeholders, such as the newly appointed women Vice-Chairs of the sub-district councils as well as women Members of Parliament. The information base for women Members of Parliament on gender equality will be built to mobilize them in an all-party women Parliamentarians’ network for advocacy on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights.
The initiative will also promote:
- Greater understanding of national and international commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment
- Greater participation of women parliamentarians on policy decisions and their implementation.
- The formation of an All Party Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus through a consultative process and linkages with existing regional caucuses in South Asia.
- Awareness and capacity by building a knowledge base linking women Member of Parliaments with other networks such as International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics (iKNOW politics).
- Evidence based learnings from others including different vulnerable communities to advocate for their rights from gender perspectives
Economic Empowerment of Women
Women contribute as active partners with men in Bangladesh’s economy through the formal and informal sector. Moreover, innumerable women who migrate for work, send home huge sums of money in the form of remittances. Bangladesh’s out migration for women migrant workers in 2011 was 5.4 percent – almost 30,579 women workers. Despite this significant number, women’s participation in Bangladesh’s economy is clouded with issues of illegal migration, vulnerable employment, discrimination and lack of proper reintegration programs.
To promote women’s economic empowerment in Bangladesh, UN Women works with the Government of Bangladesh, through a Resource Centre at the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) to provide:
- Comprehensive information on overseas employment for women;
- Safer migration of aspirant women migrant workers; and
- Resources necessary to facilitate safe employment.
To promote safer migration, UN Women develops the capabilities of concerned officials within the country as well as Bangladesh Missions abroad, and sensitizing government officials about issues related to migrant women workers.
Ending Violence Against Women
Violence against women is a cross cutting, pervasive issue in Bangladesh. Violence against Women has been identified as one of the main causes of poverty amongst women in Bangladesh. It occurs within the domestic and working arenas, but remains largely under-reported and investigated. The roots causes include unfavorable policy and legal frameworks, as well as social and individual attitudes and behaviors.
- Policies and legal framework to prevent violence against women, protecting and supporting survivors adopted, implemented and monitored.
- Social attitudes and behavioral changes effected to reduce violence against women nd discriminatory practices.
UN Women Bangladesh has been working with the Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary affairs, Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, Academic Institutions and Civil Society organizations for ending violence against women. Young people, policy makers and women migrant workers are the intensively involved with UN Women interventions.
The initiatives involve:
Enhancing awareness on issues related to violence against women through Civil Society Organizations Engaging youth and elected representative with the implementation of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Capacity building of government officials on the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Formulating CEDAW bench book Development and strengthening network of women migrant workers
For the first time, UN Women in Bangladesh and Civil Society Networks succeeded in including migration related concerns of women in the alternative report to the CEDAW Committee.
Preventing HIV & AIDS
UN Women brings a gender equality and human rights perspective to its work on women and HIV & Aids. It drives strategies which clearly link underlying factors such as violence against women, the feminization of poverty and women’s limited voice in decision making and their increased vulnerability to HIV and AIDS.
In Bangladesh, UN Women is a regular member of the United Nations Joint Team on HIV and AIDS. Besides, it is one of the three UN agencies that work in Tangail brothel along with UNAIDS and UNFPA. We are undertaking an action research on the social stigma attached with the commercial sex work in the local context. We also build capacity of the self help group in the brothel to reduce violence against sex workers.
- Capability development of various stakeholders like Government agencies, NGOs etc, for enforcing policy on women’s issues
- Community based research to identify vulnerable sections of the society and take measures to uplift them.
- Advocating adequate services for prevention, care and support services for women who live with HIV/ Aids, or who are survivors of trafficking
UN Women’s “Peer-based initiative to reduce violence against sex workers and HIV transmission vulnerability” with HIV and STD Alliance Bangladesh aims to reduce violence against brothel based sex workers, as well as their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.
National Planning and Budgeting
UN Women is actively engaging with the Government of Bangladesh to build their capacity in applying gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) concepts in framing the national budget. UN Women has commissioned a study for reviewing the process of financial decision making of concerned government ministries with the aim of identifying gaps and making recommendations which will lead to better budgeting which is more gender responsive. UN Women enhanced the capacity of civil society organisations and the Government of Bangladesh on gender responsive budgeting for the 2009 National budget. A more recent study to analyze the yearly allocations of seven line ministries on financial decision-making will further pinpoint gaps and pave the way for better application of gender responsive budgeting.
Bangladesh Programme Office had conducted a post budget 2011 analysis. The analysis highlighted the progress and challenges, and made recommendations to implement Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) for the 20 ministries covered this year. The assignment assesses the progress that the government has made so far to better understand the changes that took place to introduce GRB in the budgeting process of Bangladesh.
The Office has conducted an in-depth analysis of GRB for two ministries: Ministry of Information as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology. The roles of these two are important for women’s empowerment as the Government of Bangladesh has specific commitments through the Right to Information Act and the creation of Digital Bangladesh. This analysis will assess the impediments of GRB mechanism in non-conventional areas like information sharing and access to technology transfer
The analysis will monitor if budget allocations, expenditure patterns are pro-women in nature and consistent with policy documents. It will identify the current challenges in making allocation and expenditure more pro-women in line with the commitments made in the policy documents.
National Women Development Policy was passed in 2011. The Bangladesh Programme Office provides Technical and Financial assistance to Ministry of Women and Children Affairs for the “Formulation of National Action Plan (NAP) for Implementation of National Women Development Policy 2011.”