Promoting women’s leadership and participation in Cox’s Bazar

Rohingya refugees take part in an International Women’s Day event on 8 March 2018 in Balukhali camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: UN Women/Allison Joyce

Female women leaders in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar collectively advocate for the needs and concerns of women and girls through an umbrella network they have set up. This network comprises over 50 elected Rohingya female leaders and groups representing women and girls in 25 camps. Members include representatives from Shanti Mohila and the Rohingya Women’s Welfare Society (groups that the refugees set up) and Rohingya women’s volunteer groups that were set up through UN Women’s five Multi-purpose Women’s Centres in the camps. One of the network’s key demands is to increase women’s participation in community representation committees in the camps.

UN Women supports women’s leadership by giving trainings, mentoring and coaching, and by linking women to community representation and decision-making bodies in the camps, such as those for security and women’s welfare.

In 2019, UN Women gave training in women’s empowerment, participation and leadership to more than 100 staff members of 30 United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and member organizations of the Gender in Humanitarian Action Working Group. A module that had been created in consultation with Rohingya women and men was used. Under UN Women’s leadership, the staff members then gave the training to more than 1,000 Rohingya women in the camps.