Given the centrality of Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) to realizing Bangladesh’s aspiration of attaining middle income status, CARE Bangladesh has organized a Conference on WEE on March 16, 2017 at the Spectra Convention Centre, Dhaka as part of its program to celebrate international women’s day.

The conference, this year was titled – “Women’s Economic Empowerment – Investing in Emerging Priorities”.

Women’s economic empowerment is one of four strategic priority area for CARE globally. CARE sees economic empowerment of women as a key contributing factor to overall empowerment of women and thereby to equality between women and men. CARE defines women’s economic empowerment as the process by which women increase their right to economic resources and power to make decisions that benefit themselves, their families and their communities. This requires equal access to and control over economic resources, assets and opportunities, as well as long-term changes in social norms and economic structures that benefit women and men equally.

Women’s participation in the economy mainly in the agricultural sector have remained instrumental to drive the remarkable economic growth of Bangladesh. Their contribution both in formal and informal sector and of paid and unpaid nature has been instrumental. The conference emphasized that women’s contributions as women farmers to the sector should be encouraged and supported.

Accordingly, two women farmers of the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity Project – Asma Khatun, group leader of Bhrammandia Pashchhim Para Dairy Group of AESA project, a dairy farmer and paravet by profession of Bhrammandia Pashchhim Para under Panchuria union of Rajbari Sadar upazila of district Rajbari and Jaherun Begum, member of the Shalepur Pashchim Para Dairy Group of the village Shalepur Pashchim of Char Harirampur union under Char Bhadrashan of District Faridpur who was elected as local UP member were awarded at the conference.

Appreciating the women farmers’ contributions, the participants at the conference discussed in a live dialogue to find sustainable actions to promote economic empowerment for women. They discussed and recommended different inter-related issues of economic empowerment for women; such as: i) Financial Inclusion; ii) Women and Markets; and iii) Dignified Work for women.

Ms. Meher Afroze Chumki, Honorable State Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, was present on the occasion as the Chief Guest while Ms. Christine Hunter, Country Representative of UN Women attended the inaugural session as the Special Guest. Ms. Tania Sharmin, National Technical Coordinator, Ag Extension Project, CARE Bangladesh was also present on the occasion.