Ferdous Ara Begum, Bangladesh

Ferdous advocates for women's rights and equality

A Committed Champion for Women’s Rights.

Ferdous is currently a member of HelpAge International’s Board of Directors. Beyond her tenure on the Board, she’s also a lifelong advocate for women. In her over three decades of public service, she has been a catalyst for advancing women's rights and advocating for women's financial independence.


What are you advocating for?

My most cherished goal in life is to contribute significantly towards eliminating all forms of discriminations against women. My work is dedicated to promoting gender-equality and establishing social systems free from any forms of discrimination against women, including older women.

At present, I am working to protect older people's rights so that everyone can lead a healthy, active, dignified, and secure life in older age.


What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

I helped mainstream women's and children's rights in government policies. My work has been devoted to increasing awareness about the elimination of violence and abuse against women and reproductive rights. While working at the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, I helped design social and legal protections for women and children. That was really important for me, because it helped initiate changes to address the roots of social inequalities.

Now, I am really happy devoting my time to addressing older women's issues and, as a member of the HelpAge Board, working on a global platform to protect older people’s health, economic security, and independence. We are raising older people's voices.


What kind of progress do you think is still needed in the movement for women’s rights?

I believe full implementation of  CEDAW  (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women)  is the key legal platform for women and a roadmap, which can bring real socioeconomic advancement for women in Bangladesh.


However, the struggle to eliminate discrimination is still an uphill battle. It is unfortunate that even today—in 2018—women all over the world still face gender discrimination. Though there have been new laws and social developments in various countries, women today are still denied their full civil, political, financial and personal rights. Our society’s cultural norms and biases continue to hurt women’s futures.


I hope we can achieve the targets set for gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—that together we can increase women’s access to education and economic resources. It’s also important to make investments in women at all stages of life—whether that’s in childhood or old age.


Want to read more by Ferdous? Check out the article she wrote for us on Medium for International Women's Day.


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