“Emergency funds can meet immediate needs, but for enduring economic self-sufficiency to be achieved, individuals must be given the tools and training to provide for themselves.”
–UN Women, “In the aftermath of crisis, rural Bangladeshi women pursue economic security”
The global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Cyclone Amphan are two of the catastrophes that have devastated the livelihood of women in Bangladesh over the past several years. Aside from these disasters, the economic position of Bangladeshi women is already disadvantaged, as “just over a third of Bangladesh’s labor force is female, with a tiny proportion—less than five percent—holding a formal role. On average, women earn 21 percent less than their male counterparts,” UN Women explains in their recent exposé, “In the aftermath of crisis, rural Bangladeshi women pursue economic security.” Additionally, “Less than 60 percent of Bangladeshi women have access to credit—a consequence of entrenched institutional, cultural and social barriers.”
UN Women’s relief response to these inequalities has been vital to the lives of women in the rural Bangladesh communities of Satkhira and Khulna. The focus of UN Women’s efforts is on long-term strategies that provide skills and tools to Bangladeshi women so that they have ongoing economic respite as a result of entrepreneurship.
One woman entrepreneur who took initiative and exhibited resilience from her circumstances was Mahmuda Khatun. The Prerona Foundation, which is supported by UN Women, assisted Khatun in establishing her own poultry farm.
“Today, equipped with new skills and supported financially, Khatun has built a profitable business, earning around 17,000 taka (USD 200) each month. With the family finances secured and her children in school, Khatun is now looking to help those around her. ‘I would like to provide training for nearby women”, she says. “I hope to enhance their skills, helping to make more empowered women in society,'” she explained.
Helping women like Khatun unlock their potential so that they are able to provide for themselves and their families is the important, life-changing work that UN Women and wegg® are dedicated to.