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To address the high rates of violence against women and girls in the Cox's Bazar refugge camps and the complexities of policing in a humanitarian situation, UN Women has supported the Bangladesh Police to strengthen gender-responsive policing, improving the availability, accessibility, and quality of police services,.
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Romela Islam escaped her abusive marriage when her brother took her to Tarango (meaning, waves), a women’s shelter in Bangladesh in December 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the country and violence against women and girls was on the rise.
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Jesmin Aktar lives in a village of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She regularly attends UN Women's "Shanti Khana" [Multi-Purpose Women's Centre – MPWC] learning sessions and is dedicated to improving her life by pursuing a challenging job and contributing to society.
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In the past 18 months, by trapping women with their abusers, COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have worsened the already-widespread violence against women while preventing many of them from getting help. But even those who do manage to contact the police come up against another long-standing challenge: a culture and system that treats the survivor as a big part of the problem.
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Minara is a Community Outreach volunteer and Rohingya refugee and survivor who fled the conflict in Myanmar in August 2017. As a volunteer in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, she is part of a UN Women programme that empowers refugee women to lead and participate in decision-making processes in the refugee camps.
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“When the first storm hit, I knew that this time around it would be a bigger challenge for the women in Satkhira. Between a pandemic and a disaster, we didn’t know what to worry about more. But the starting point in helping these communities is to engage women in the response and planning,” said Shampa Goswami, who leads ‘Prerona Nari Unnayan Sanggathan’ (Prerona), a community-based women’s organization in the Satkhira district in the southern tip of...
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The world in lockdown has created a ‘profound shock to our societies and economies, and women are at the heart of care and response efforts underway[1]. Primarily as caregivers, women are not just sustaining families, but also serving as front-line responders, mainly in the health and service sector.
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In 2019, over 700,000 Bangladeshi workers migrated overseas, through the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) and around 100,000 of them were women. As countries around the world implement lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, many Bangladeshi migrants are back home with no income.
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To prevent an added humanitarian crisis in the already-vulnerable Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, 24 Rohingya volunteers are working with UN Women to mobilize their communities and raise awareness on COVID-19.
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Wasfia Nazreen, 37, is a Bangladeshi mountaineer, activist, social worker and writer. She is the only Bangladeshi and the first Bengali to scale “the Seven Summits” [the highest peaks on each of the seven continents]. She holds the simultaneous titles of National Geographic Explorer and Adventurer. 
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Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality. Shireen Huq helped found the non-profit organization Naripokkho, which has become a leading voice for women’s rights in Bangladesh. From 1987 to 2006, she served as an advisor to the Danish development agency, DANIDA.
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In this new intergenerational series for Generation Equality campaign, young people take the lead to shape the conversations. Zefroon Afsary, 25-year-old human rights activist talks with Ayesha Khanam, President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, a women’s rights organization that started during the independence struggle in 1970.
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The “Inclusive and Equitable Local Development Programme (IELD)”, a joint initiative of UNCDF, UNDP and UN Women, facilitates women’s access to the labour market and entrepreneurial ventures by fostering local public and private investments in women-led enterprises and small businesses that benefit women as well as their communities.
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Sufia Khatun from Pirganj, Rongpur, found herself without any source of income after her husband passed away. Through a joint UN programme, she was able to learn tailoring and get access to finance to invest in her own business. Today she employs 20 women in her community.
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Ensuring that women know their rights as migrant workers, including what should be in their employment contracts, is a crucial step in protecting them from abuse and exploitation – especially since some are not aware that their rights are being violated.
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From marketplaces in the Pacific to parks in eastern Europe, women are rising up and demanding safety, respect and inclusion in public spaces, and coming together to make it happen. Through community efforts, UN Women is working around the world to help women claim their space.
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An event organized by UN Women, the Global Network for Women Peacebuilders, UNFPA, Peacebuilding Support Office and the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh and Finland, brought together young women from four countries to share experiences and speak about their peacebuilding work. A dialogue with policy makers—Member States and UN experts—provided the space for discussion of the impact of violent conflicts on young women, and the actions they are taking to build peace and prevent conflicts.
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UN Women is on the ground, addressing the needs of women and girl refugees arriving in Bangladesh. We’ve provided dignity kits, safe spaces and skills training, while engaging in high-level advocacy to promote women’s leadership in peacebuilding, disaster mitigation and resilience. On World Humanitarian Day, find out more about the Rohingya crisis.
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Beena Pallical is the Executive Director at the Asia Dalit Rights Forum and the current Manager of a programme seeking to strengthen Dalit Women’s Economic Rights across South Asia. The Dalit community in this region is still considered the lowest of the historical castes and suffers widespread discrimination, despite recent legislation and initiatives. Within the community, the specific problem of women’s economic empowerment has received little attention, but is now the focus of a two-year programme funded by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.
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Papiya Parvin from Debhata Upazilla, Bangladesh, has just bought a cow to start her own farm. She is also the first woman from her village who travelled to Tokyo to share her experience as part of a UN Women and BRAC programme that is empowering women to curb the rising tide of extremism in rural communities.