Results at a Glance
Making Migration Safer: Women migration represents only a minority of Bangladesh’s overall migration. Ismat Ara from Rongpur in Bangladesh is only 23 years old but she has already experienced far more than her young-age. As a migrant worker, she was not only deported from Dubai, but she lost her documents and her land in the process. Today she works as a domestic help, trying desperately to make ends meet for her family.
To ensure that other women don’t go through Ismat’s fate, our efforts in Bangladesh help empower women migrant workers. Since 2005, we have worked primarily with two ministries – Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment; and Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. In 2010, we helped the Government to establish its first resource centre so women migrants could easily obtain correct information about migration.
A 26-episode programme in local dialects was broadcast on national radio to inform potential women migrant workers of the safest ways to migrate abroad to work. After receiving an overwhelming audience response from women migrants who called in with queries, the programme, that was produced and broadcast by UN Women, is now being replicated for seven other local-stations across the country. Government officials, including those in embassies in countries receiving migrants, have learnt to better assist women migrants who encounter difficulties. For women who must return to Bangladesh, we are working with the Government on a policy on rehabilitation along with women’s rights advocates.
Capacity for Change: Stronger skills and capacity are crucial to bring change for the poorest of women – especially while planning budgets. When the 2009 National Budget was being formulated, our trainings and experts helped Government officials and Civil Society to understand how to incorporate a gender perspective in planning and budgeting frameworks. A study to analyze the yearly allocations of seven line ministries on gender and financial decision-making will highlight crucial gender gaps. We also build skills to accelerate the implementation of laws and conventions.
Women’s Leadership: Our experience shows that promoting the participation of women leaders goes a long way in making them more visible and outspoken. We have worked consistently with newly appointed women Vice-Chairs from sub-district councils and women Member of Parliaments. Orientations are specially designed for them to increase their knowledge on women’s issues and help them carry out their duties as elected representatives.
Debate to End Violence: In Bangladesh, 400 students from all over the country participated in a nationwide debate competition in numerous locations. The subject was violence against women. The students had varied roles –while some were debaters, others were organizers or audience members. The teachers and other students of participating educational institutes committed themselves to taking steps to end violence against women.