Four grassroots leaders have been recognised with "Nasreen Smriti Padak" yesterday for their outstanding contributions to women empowerment and society.
The award is a signature initiative of ActionAid Bangladesh in memory of Nasreen Parvin Huq, former country director of the organisation.
The awardees are Susmita Sultana Swarnali, a student of Chattogram, MS Hasna Begum, an agro-based entrepreneur from Gaibandha, and MS Rani Begum, a farmer from Gaibandha and Sohanur Rahman, a social worker of Jhalakathi.
They were awarded for their contributions towards women leadership in the local government system, entrepreneurship in agriculture, leadership in Covid-19 response and setting an example against sexual harassment and abuse, respectively.
ActionAid Bangladesh announced the awards at a webinar yesterday, titled "Celebrating Women Leadership", to celebrate achievements of women leaders from different generations all over Bangladesh, ahead of International Women's Day.
Grassroots and national-level women leaders also shared their untold stories of struggle, survival and bravery at the webinar.
Prof Firdous Azim, chairperson of Brac University's English and humanities department and member of Naripokkho, joined the webinar and said women's rights will be ensured only when social equality is established.
Academic Rasheda K Chowdhury, former adviser to the caretaker government, said women's rights have always been neglected in textbooks. Even works of women writers are being removed from textbooks, she said.
She called upon bringing social change to eradicate all kinds of uncertainties for women in educational institutions.
Gender and sexual rights activist and trans-feminist Hochemin Islam said gender diversity was nowhere to be found in the women's movement, as no special action has been taken even for transgender women.
ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir said women are underrepresented in many spheres. In Decision-making positions, women are still few and far between in every sector, including, politics, business, corporate, media, health and education.
Khushi Kabir, coordinator of Nijera Kori, and Dr Samanta Lal Sen, chief coordinator of Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery, among others, spoke at the event.