The impacts of Covid-19 on women in Bangladesh

Mahiul Kadir :


I personally talked to several women about their plight regarding the COVID-19 situation in Bangladesh. Summarising some of there painful story here-

Garments industry closure:

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Reshma Begum does not know about her exact age, but she seems to be mid forty, a widow and mother of two daughters, one is married and the other one still studying at college. Reshma is the only bread earner of her family and the youngest daughter and almost seventy-years-old mother depend on it. Every month she needs to send money that is only the source of her family members’ survival. Last ten years Reshma has worked in a garment factory and thinks that when her younger daughter will take a government job she will leave her work. Now Reshma has no work factory closed for preventive measures against COVID-19 and she does not know how many days or months will need to open it. She has no saving money and doesn’t know how she will survive. 

Domestic Violence:

Sumona married Navid without their family consent twenty years ago. Now they have a son who is studying in the USA. Sumona wanted to keep her son in Bangladesh, but Navid sent him to the USA for a better education; that is the source of their confrontation. Now they can’t tolerate each other. Sometimes Navid even physically abuses Sumona. She doesn’t share with her family or friends because she secretly married him and thinks it’s a shameful matter. Before COVID-19, she spent quality time with colleagues at the office that gave her minimum mental satisfaction, but now that is lost. The office is closed for maintaining a social distance that sparks domestic violence to many women like Sumona.

Front line care workers:

Latifa is a nurse at a government hospital doing jobs for many years. She cares for many patients with affection and the highest attention, but now community people seldom show their empathy to her. They think corona germs may be spreading from her as she works at the hospital. When she or her family wants to talk to someone while maintaining social distance nobody positively responds to them. She becomes anxious and if such behavior continues, she and her family will be mad.

Domestic helpers:

Juma is a casual domestic worker serving five families in Dhaka city. Now all families off her works and pay in advance two months to keep social distancing. Juma what amount she gets is enough to pay her house rent and the rest of the amount she sends to her family at the village. Every day she gets some food from the houses where she works, but now she has to pay some amount for food. She is now worried and waiting for a call to start her work again.

Small business owners:

 Aklima has a small tea shop that is the only source of her family. She has three children and died her husband five years ago. Children and she is almost busy the entire day serving snacks and tea to customers. The money she earns was enough for food, house rent, and the rest of some medical expenses of the family. Now her tea shop is closed. The last five days she along with her children consumes savings that are rapidly reducing and doesn’t know how she will run the family in the future. Already house rent is unpaid and if it continues to the next month the landlord will evict them.

** Original names have been changed

About the writer:

Mahiul Kadir is Executive Director at Hope for the Poorest, a not for a profit-making organization, working on entrepreneurship social business in Bangladesh. Kadir is a business graduate of Shahajalal University of Science & Technology, Sylhet- Bangladesh and he has been received an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, Dhaka University.

After graduation, he launched his career in the development sector where his specialization in strategic management, resource mobilization, financial management, project design, implementation and evaluation, people management, and entrepreneurship development.

He eventually led a number of programs/organizations that mostly included the World Bank Group Sanitation Program in Bangladesh. Kadir is also a creative thinker and writing on social media and different national English dailies on socio-economic issues mostly women’s development and empowerment.

He already presented his research findings on many national and international seminars, including One Young World Summit, 2018 at Hague, the Netherlands, and World Water Week, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden.

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