From where I stand: Learning sessions gave me the courage to aim for a career as a police officer and end illegal behaviour against women

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.


Jesmin Aktar.  Photo: UN Women/Mahmudul Karim
Jesmin Aktar. Photo: UN Women/Mahmudul Karim


Community volunteers came to our house during the pandemic to conduct a door-to-door COVID-19 awareness-raising session, and we learned about the Multi-Purpose Women’s Centre (MPWC) services from them. They assured me that if I started visiting the MPWC, I would learn about gender equality and other life skills. My mother is a housewife, and my father is a farmer. I have five sisters and a brother. My community believes that too much education for women is detrimental to society. However, I was interested in learning more about women's rights.

Women and girls in my society are marginalized. Our family instils in us the belief that because men do more work than women, men should eat more. As a result, men are given more food than women in our homes. When I first arrived at MPWC, I discovered that women do a lot of work in the home, but their efforts are undervalued. Because the majority of women's jobs are not paid.

Women in our village usually do not want to go to the cyclone centre when there is an early warning of a natural disaster. People in our society believe that women should remain at home. The session in MPWC taught us that when a cyclone warning is announced, women should also go to the cyclone centre. We found a friendly environment and peace at the MPWC, where we can exchange our knowledge and learn new things. I pass on these awareness messages to all other girls in my community and encourage them to attend the MPWC session.

In the MPWC, we watched some tutorial animation videos and discovered that women do more work than men. Women and men should be treated equally. We have also learned the distinction between gender and sex. We have discovered that women are capable of performing the same tasks as men. We will advance more quickly if women can contribute to the family and society. We now know that a woman can be a police officer, a pilot, and even an astronaut. Learning this gave me the confidence to pursue a career as a police officer in the future. I want to serve my community as a police officer. I want to make my society free of sexual harassment, child marriage and gender-based violence.”

SDG 5: Gender equality

Jesmin Aktar, a 15-year-old student in a eighth grade, is a participant of the UN Women's MPWC, which is a part of the project “Means to lead: Empowering Rohingya refugee and host community women through leadership, learning and livelihoods” implemented by Oxfam in Bangladesh and Mukti Cox's Bazar with generous support from the Government of Sweden. The MPWCs are one-stop service delivery hubs where women and girls can get multi-sectoral services such as access to information and education on issues such as gender equality, protection, leadership, and livelihoods.