A better Bangladesh for women and girls
Every year, countries around the world join together from November 25th-December 10thto observe “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.” The 16 Days of Activism campaign is observed internationally to raise awareness and prevent gender-based violence. In Bangladesh, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has joined with the Government of Bangladesh and other development partners from the community level to national level to take part in this campaign and bring and end to gender-based violence in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has the eighth largest population in the world, with an estimated 75 million female citizens . The past decade has been a period of incredible growth for Bangladesh, with vast improvement on many social and economic indicators of development. For women and girls, progress has been made in the areas of maternal and child mortality, education, maternal and neonatal health, access in formal and informal economic sector etc.
But unfortunately, the status of women continues to be an area in which Bangladesh lags behind, particularly in regards to the levels of sex- and gender- based violence. According to the 2011 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, 87% of Bangladeshi women and girls will experience sex and gender-based violence in their lifetime. Worldwide, Bangladesh is ranked 146 out of 186 on the Gender Inequality Index.
Gender-based violence in Bangladesh must come to an end. Gender-based violence is both the cause and effect of a whole host of problems; Discrimination, inequality, oppression, re-productive health issues, and violence are all mutually reinforcing. By bringing an end to gender-based violence, Bangladesh can create an enabling environment for 75 million women and girls to thrive and contribute to the development of this country.
This year during 16 Days of Activism, UNFPA in Bangladesh is working with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs and Men EngageNetwork to put a stop to this violence. UNFPA is workingto increase sensitization on the issue of gender-based violence through a mass media campaign that will reach across the country. Additionally, during this campaign UNFPA is focusing on creating awareness among men and boys in order to help them become full partners in combating gender-based violence. UNFPA will also be working with young people across the nation to help them explore policy mattersregarding to this prevalent human rights issue.
Beyond the 16 Days of Activism, UNFPA is engaged year-round in the fight to end sex and gender-based violence in Bangladesh. In the public sector, UNFPA is working with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs to increase support and services available to victims of SGBV and child marriage in Bangladesh. Additionally, UNFPA is teaming up with the police sector under the Bangladesh Ministry of Home Affairs to increase support and services available to the victims of sex and gender based violence (SGBV) and child marriage who report these crimes to the local police stations/thanas. In the private sector, UNFPA is working with BGMEA and the Ministry of Labour and Employment to prevent and address violence against women in Bangladesh's garment sector. UNFPA is constantly striving for a Bangladesh where women and girls can live without fear of gender-based violence.
As we observe these 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence, let us think about the women and girls in our lives. These 16 Days of Activism must be the foundationon which we build the campaign to end gender-based violence every day, year round.
UNFPA is working to end gender-based violence in Bangladesh and around the world.