Stories

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Vilashini Weerasinghe is Assistant Director of the Sri Lanka Planning Service, a Government institution in Badulla, capital of Uva Province. She has been working to address issues faced by plantation workers for the last 17 years. In October 2021, Weerasinghe attended a series of “multi-party dialogues” that UN Women hosted as part of its project, funded by the Government of Japan, on implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka.
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Ishan Priyaranga, 27, is Minister of Public Transport (Kalutara District) in the Youth Parliament of Sri Lanka. In October 2021, Priyaranga attended a series of “multi-party dialogues” that UN Women hosted as part of its project, funded by the Government of Japan, on implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka.
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has clearly outlined her commitment to eliminating this scourge of violence against the women of Bangladesh. Nothing hurts her more, she has said, than violence against women. Her government has enacted several strong policies and action plans to promote gender equality and address violence against women, including the Domestic Violence Protection and Preservation Act 2010, National Women Development Policy 2011, Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act 2012 and the Child Marriage Prevention Act 2017, which clearly demonstrate the will to make changes.
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Chandrawathi Dissanayaka, based in Siyambalanduwa, in Uva Province of Sri Lanka, is the first and only woman elected as president of a Pradeshiya Sabha [local authority] in the country. In October 2021, Dissanayaka attended a series of “multi-party dialogues” that UN Women hosted as part of its project, funded by the Government of Japan, on Implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka.
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Shorifa Jahan (not her real name) is a Community Leader under UN Women’s Combatting Gender-Based Violence (CGBV) Project in Bangladesh funded by the Government of Canada. The project focuses on primary prevention, stopping violence before it occurs, so that all women and girls live a life free of violence at home, at work and in public spaces
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In the wake of crisis, economic response and recovery plans often forget the needs of women and girls, hindering sustained peace and development. In Bangladesh, UN Women supports the Generation Equality Compact on Women Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) and is working with local partners to put recovery back on track by increasing economic security for crisis-affected women through grants and job training.
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“We … have a host of cultural barriers that prevent women from seeking help. For example, victims of violence are often threatened not to go to court and are subject to extreme physical and psychological abuse. Women also find legal battles as a ‘hassle’ to their daily lives, because they have to juggle multiple responsibilities at home and work.
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Based on international standards, many policies have been put forward to ensure the safety of women and to address inequalities. However, implementation is lacking. If a woman goes to the police station to make a complaint, the system is such that they don’t often feel safe and protected.
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Bangladesh has already demonstrated great success in disaster risk reduction. We have the National Development Framework that has powerful instructions for climate change and disaster risk reduction. We have our own local adaptation and mitigation strategy. But there is gap in translating those plans into concrete actions. So in order to advance toward the objectives of the 66th CSW, we need to be more action-oriented.
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The two agencies signed an inter-agency agreement for the period 2022-2026 to promote gender-responsive inclusive governance, social protection and disaster risk reduction, women’s economic empowerment and access to justice as well as to fight discrimination against women at all levels in Bangladesh.
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UN Women and ILO have long been working with the Government to foster decent work, equal pay and access to resources for women. Both agencies excel in their respective areas of work: UN Women has cultivated strong civil society partnerships and ILO has close working relationship with employers’ and workers’ organizations. Combining these comparative advantages, UN Women and ILO are ideally positioned to promote voice, agency and choice for women and girls in Bangladesh.
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Remarks by Gitanjali Singh, Head of Office, a.i, UN Women Bangladesh. "Bangladesh has been a champion and front runner on disaster risk reduction and climate change action with UN Women being an integral part of it. Acknowledging these efforts and to advance these gains further with a focus on the priorities of marginalized women and girls, climate resilient infrastructure and increased gender responsive financing..."
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[Press release] During her official visit to Sri Lanka recently, the Officer-in-Charge for UN Women Asia and the Pacific met with key partners to reaffirm UN Women’s commitment to ensure that women and girls are not left behind amidst recovery from the ongoing economic crisis.
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Using her skills in palm-weaving, Lucia, 42 sells a variety of custom-made products to provide an additional income to her family. “For us, even a small income goes a long way”, she says. Lucia has been specializing in palm-weaving since 2014. However, from the beginning of her craft-making career, she has had to face persistent challenges to prove her capabilities in what she calls a ’man’s world.” The trainings and support provided to Lucia and Kamalawathi are part of a project titled Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka, which UN Women implements with the State Ministry of Women and Child Development, Pre-Schools and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and Education Services.
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This message was the focus of an event held in Dhaka to mark International Women’s Day 2022 by the UN Development Programme, UN Women and the UN Capital Development Fund, along with top executives from several financial institutions. “In most cases, women entrepreneurs are not aware of the financial services available, how to access them and how to leverage them for sustaining their businesses,” said Diya Nanda, deputy country representative for UN Women.
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Addressing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence is an integral aspect of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. 46-year-old L.D. W Sanjeewani is a Chief Inspector of Police, serving in the Polonnaruwa Police Division in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. She has over 25 years of experience helping survivors of violence.
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Farah Kabir is the Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh. Over close to three decades of vast experience in the field of development and research has made her renowned human rights figure and a CSO leader at home and abroad with an uncompromising voice against human-rights violation. She is a member of Advisory committee of Bangladesh’s NDA to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a member of such Child Rights Committee National Human Rights Commission, Board member of UCEP. She is a member of the Global Board of the Global Network of Disaster Risk Reduction (GNDR), Board Member of Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) since 2019. steering committee member of ACIAR-Rupantar program of Australian Government, advisory committee member of Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE).
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[Press Release] In Sri Lanka, women are denied equal access to the jobs market not just because of family or social factors, but also by employers. This is the focus of a report launched by UN Women today, titled Gender Disparities and Labour Market Challenges: The Demand for Women Workers in Sri Lanka. This report is amongst the first in the country to illustrate the largely unexplored factors on the part of employers and firms that prevent women from entering the paid workforce.
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Young women are agents of change in promoting peace and social cohesion, said speakers at the National Colloquium on Learnings from the Women Peace Café initiative in Bangladesh. The event, organized by UN Women and the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) of Brac University
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Keya Khan is Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Government of Bangladesh. She was interviewed in her office in Dhaka by Shararat Islam of UN Women. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. How can we ensure gender equality and empowerment of women in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies, and programmes?