Our final edition of this year’s Beyond Victims Series brings you stories of inspiring women political leaders from Bangladesh.
We collaborated with Bangladesh Alliance for Women Leadership (BDAWL) to bring stories of three inspiring women leaders from the grassroots.
Stories of Rasheda Akhter, Shamsun Naher Panna and Nasreen Jahan covered in this edition have been contributed by Ambassador Nasim Firdaus, Founder and President of BDAWL.
All three leaders have participated in and benefitted from BDAWL Leadership Academy in their political leadership journeys.
Upazila Vice Chair, Chauddagram, Cumilla district
Rasheda joined politics to fight for women’s rights and was soon widely recognised as a community leader. In 2009 she contested the local elections and became Upazila Vice Chair and got re-elected twice in 2014 and 2019. Despite social and economic limitations, through her determination and leadership, she continues to be empowering other women through training and imparting her knowledge on national and international platforms.
Shamsun Naher Panna
Panna is teacher turned political leader and currently serves as the Joint General Secretary and President of Nagar Mahila Dal, women’s wing of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). As the Coordinator of Solidarity Center Bangladesh, Jessore, she works for safe migration of women workers. In 2014, she contested the election for the post of Upazila Mahila Vice Chair.
Former Upazila Vice-Chair
Nasreen went through several hardships growing up, including losing her father and walking miles for education. Started as an activist in student politics, Nasreen is now a recognised political leader. She contested and became the Vice Chair of Companyganj Upazilla, Sylhet and was re-elected in 2014. She is the President of Companyganj Upazilla Awami League Women’s Wing and President of Sylhet District Women Empowerment Forum.
Nazrul Islam Ritu
First transwoman Chairperson of Union Parishad (Trilochonpur)
Nazrul Islam Ritu’s community work made her a favourite among voters, and she won as an independent candidate against strong political party opponents. She had been helping the poor for several years. In her new role, she aims to eradicate corruption and drug abuse, stop the early marriage of girls, and assist the poor in getting access to proper medical treatment.
– The Daily Star, Nov 2021
Selina Hayat Ivy
First Woman Mayor (Narayanganj City Corporation)
Selina Hayat Ivy became the first person to get elected as a Mayor for the third consecutive time. Her courage and pro-people attitude made her a voice against injustice despite facing political violence. She collaborated with multilateral agencies and corporations to reduce the city’s plastic waste. She undertook many infrastructure development projects, notably Baburail Canal Restoration Project.
– Multiple Sources
Curated by: Akhil Neelam
Edited by: Sugandha Singh Parmar
Design: Vida Seraphina (https://vidaseraphina.dk/)
We thank Ambassador Nasim Firdaus, Founder and President of Bangladesh Alliance for Women Leadership (BDAWL), for her support and contributions to this edition.
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This year’s Beyond Victims series will span eight editions, covering stories of inspiring women’s political leadership across South Asia. Get them in your inbox by joining our mailing list.
Women for Politics is an initiative of Centre for Gender And Politics (CGAP).
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