Bangladesh: The (Un)Power of Women

As U.S. citizens missed their chance to elect a woman for president for the first time in 2008, Bangladeshis elected a female prime minister past December for the fourth time. Sheik Hasina is currently one of 11 female heads of state worldwide according to the Council of Women World Leaders (Aspen Institute). But many of the 76 million women in Bangladesh are still facing discrimination, oppression and violence every day in a country of 150 million living on an area comparable to Wisconsin.

What is keeping Bangladeshi women from emancipation when their country is ruled by one of their own? How is their situation now? What are their most urgent needs; which rights are they fighting for? And how does society perceive them?

This project attempts to trace women in Bangladeshi society on both sides of the power spectrum. On one hand, I want to visit organizations such as Nari Jibon who empower women by teaching skills and giving them a voice via blogs, Karmojibi Nari, an initiative of working women, and Odhikar, a leading NGO and watchdog for human rights.

On the other end of the power spectrum, 45 of the 345 seats in parliament are reserved for women. Nineteen women won unreserved seats in the past election. An interview with female politicians will show the clout they have to shape legislation.

Bangladesh: Stine Eckert sums up the situation of women in Bangladesh

Stine Eckert, Pulitzer Student Fellow

Stine Eckert sums up the situation of women in Bangladesh after two weeks of interviews in Bangladesh: While a shift in the generation of current adult women and the chances their daughters will have seems to occur, some professional jobs such as journalism still remain macho realm.

Announcing the 2009 Student Reporting Fellows!

Students at Campus Consortium member schools were eligible to apply for reporting fellowships of up to $2,000 each and the opportunity to work with the Pulitzer Center staff on an international reporting project. Listed below are the inaugural winners for 2009 and previews of their projects.