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Pathways of Women’s Empowerment South Asia based at the BRAC Development Institute launched four research reports in Bangla at the Ekushey Book Fair, the largest and the most prestigious book fair in Bangladesh. The reports are aimed at reaching a wide spectrum of Bangla speaking audiences around the country. Dr. Imran Matin, Deputy Executive Director of the BRAC Africa Programmes, launched the publications on 20 February 2010 at the ‘Nazrul Moncho’ within the grounds of Bangla Academy, where the month-long Book Fair was held. It is hoped that by making the reports available through this bookfair the research findings will influence the way the general public consider women’s work, women’s engagement with religion and media and the movement building strategies of women’s organisations.

The Ekushey Book Fair is the most important cultural and literary annual event in Bangladesh. The Fair pays homage to the Language Movement of the country by commemorating the Bangla language in all its manifestations. Nearly four hundred publishing houses have stalls showcasing novels, poetry books, research papers, children’s books, etc, and the daily programme features lectures, seminars, poetry recitations, painting competitions and theatre productions. The Book Fair is free and open to all and draws large crowds from all over the country.

The language of the reports have been kept clear, with limited use of research/social science jargon, in order to make the content as accessible to the wider fair-going audience as possible.

The reports are:

  1. Media in the Eyes of Women: New Possibilities? by Aanmona Priyadarshini

  2. Women at Work: Aspirations and Limitations by Sakiba Tasneem

  3. Women and Religion: A Changing Relationship by Sahida Islam Khondaker and Samia Huq

  4. Women’s Movements and Constituency Building: An Analysis by Sohela Nazneen and Maheen Sultan

The research reports are available to buy individually or as a boxed set entitled Women’s Empowerment in Bangladesh: Debates and Possibilities, that contains the four reports plus an overview piece written by Sahida Islam Khondaker and Firdous Azim. The Pathways Programme has entered into an agreement with the University Press Limited (UPL), the leading publication house in Bangladesh, who will distribute the reports via its stall at the Ekushey Book Fair and its various networks. Boxed sets are also being sent to newspaper editors and universities in an attempt to bring them into public discourse through newspaper reviews and classroom engagements. By making its research findings available in the national language and reaching audiences through popular outlets such as the Ekushey Book Fair, the Pathways Programme expects to influence public thinking and make a lasting impact within the communities in which it works.

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