To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, I wanted to share this post from the archives. I was lucky enough to spend 4 months volunteering in Bangladesh in 2015 working with and getting to know women in the community. I spent International Women’s Day in Bangladesh that year and these were my reflections at the time. Enjoy!
8th March is International Women’s Day.
And I’m in Bangladesh. A country where three-quarters of women under fifty years old were married before they turned eighteen. Where sixty-five per cent of women are unemployed. Where nearly half the female population cannot read or write.
When I thought about coming out to Bangladesh, I was worried about how I would be treated as a woman. My friends asked whether I would be ‘safe’; what they meant was would I be a target for sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape. I was concerned I would be ignored and isolated by influential men in the community. I am relieved and pleased to say that I have experienced none of that. The only concession I make is how I dress: covered from neck to ankle, tops that cover my backside, and a scarf covering my chest, lest anyone notice that I actually have breasts.
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