Young feminism in Bangladesh: What does feminism mean to you?
Which topics really matter to Generation X and young millennials? Seven women and a man, participants in a DW Academy/Goethe-Institut Bangladesh project, explain what feminism means to them. By Author: Priya Esselborn and Nina Molter
Esha Aurora, journalist, assistant news editor at the Dhaka Tribune: "For me feminism is centred around the fundamental principles of equal rights. Everyone should have equal access to all opportunities, including educational, economic, political, and personal ones. Feminism is intersectional. We have to recognise the nuances of discrimination and fight the root causes of deeply embedded patriarchal value systems"
Ashfika Rahman, visual artist: Ashfika is a faculty member at the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka. “For me feminism is not just about the equality of women and men. It’s a movement that fights to end sexist oppression and exploitation without neglecting other forms of oppression such as racism and imperialism. They are all inter-related through webs of oppression"
Syeda Samara Mortada, feminist activist: Samara is the regional movement builder at SheDecides Asia and has been a core organiser of the RageAgainstRape movement in Bangladesh. “To be a feminist is to stand up and speak out about all kind of prejudices and marginalisation that exist in society, and to accept all kinds of diversities. I’m a feminist because I know no other way to be"
Tasaffy Hossain, development professional: Tasaffy has worked on issues such as agriculture, education, gender empowerment and equality. “I’ve been a feminist all my life. I grew up in an untypical urban Bengali family and felt the gendering in society from an early age, even if there weren't words to explain it. I want to encourage others to start noticing these issues and to challenge them for a better, more equal future for all"
Arifur Rahman, independent filmmaker: Arifur became interested in filmmaking while studying anthropology at Jahangirnagar University. His projects have been featured at various film festivals, including the ones in Berlin, Venice, Busan, Seattle, Locarno, Singapore and Shanghai. “I want to discuss the idea of feminism in my films because I believe that film is a strong medium that can impact people’s lives and leave a positive mark"
Mohsina Akhter, independent theatre practitioner: Mohsina designs, directs, acts and teaches at Dhaka University. “Feminism for me is a social movement that unmasks how physical/sexual bias incapacitates women in everyday life. As a woman in a patriarchal society, I am always at risk of violence. Feminism is the inspiration that lifts my spirit on days when all seems lost and makes me believe that we shall overcome!”
Tasnuva Ahmed, marketing professional: Tasnuva managed ColoursFM, the only feminist radio in Bangladesh as its head of operations until 2020. She now has her own ventures in the IT and media sectors and promotes gender equality and rights. “Feminism to me means getting equal opportunities. There shouldn’t be discrimination or gender stereotyping when trying to pursue one’s dreams or achieve goals"
Musharrat Sharmee Hossain, musician, lecturer, social justice activist: Sharmee co-created Mango Meter, the world's first feminist rating app that judges the representation of women in films. She teaches at North South University. “Feminism gives me the audacity to question the wrongs and initiate dialogues for social change. I owe it to my foremothers who put me where I am today. I want to tell their unheard stories with the sincerity they deserve"