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Women and the right of access to information in Bangladesh: executive summary

Date added: May 31, 2016

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A new study from the Carter Center examines women’s right to information in Bangladesh. The research assessed whether women are able to exercise the right to information with the same facility as men and also identified the main obstacles facing women in accessing information, and types of information most critical to women for economic empowerment and the protection of rights.

Within the area of access to information for economic empowerment, this research looked at four interconnected themes: education, land, business, and agriculture. Also, it explored women’s need for information on rights more generally. The study methodology called for regional sample diversity. By collecting full data sets within each region, a case study for selected districts and Dhaka was completed to identify variations in women’s access to information, key obstacles, and priority issues.

When asked to rank the top barriers facing women in the exercise of their right to information, community leaders across all six districts most frequently identified the following:

  • Illiteracy
  • Lack of awareness/where to go/how to ask for information
  • Someone in family not supportive/impedes/culturally not appropriate/paternalism/patriarchy

Further findings:

  • The interviews and observational data collected during the study illustrate both differential access — that women are not accessing information with the same facility as men - and numerous barriers facing women in accessing government-held information in Bangladesh
  • Community leaders, experts, and public officials perceived a difference in women’s access to information based on age
  • The most important information for the economic empowerment of Bangladeshi women relates to education, land/property, and employment/right to work. This was firmly expressed in every district in which the study was conducted. Community leaders also noted a need for greater information on starting a business, training, financial support/loans, government/social services, women’s rights, and law and justice.

You can download the full research report here

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