The Change Agents: Changing Gender Norms in Rural Bangladesh

rausan 294x200 The Change Agents: Changing Gender Norms in Rural Bangladesh

Do CARE’s gender tools really work? Do they help develop change agents to challenge gender norms?

The story of Rausan Ara (age 45) and Salma (age 36), along with their husbands Ferdous and Mazidul, helps to shed light on such questions.

Rausan and Salma, along with their husbands, are role models in their community. While facilitating different gender dialogue sessions using daily clock, access control matrix, and mobility mapping exercises, Pathways identified these model couples who have been working as change agents within their community.   Before the session, the couples had been playing a positive role, but Ferdous and Mazidul were not very sensitive to gender issues. They had never considered their wives owning of assets!  “They had been supportive but the gender dialogues sessions have been changed them in a way that they started thinking of building assets by our name and started working with us for the whole community,” said one of the women.

After the Pathways intervention, the couples supported the facilitation of different gender sessions in their community. The awareness interventions also encouraged them to work with the whole community to facilitate discussions around changing gender norms.

Rausan and Salma are also facilitating linkages with the Department of Agriculture Extension and  Rice Research Institutes for managing seeds and other agro-services for group members. Ferdous and Mazidul have been working with them. With their support, group members have developed home gardens and managed to save in their agro businesses.

In a personal show of solidarity with gender equity goals, Ferdous has purchased 3 decimals of land  and registered it in his wife’s  name. Mazidul, who owns oly 13 decimals of land, has transferred the ownership of 6.5 decimals of land to Salma so that they may stand as examples in their community. They are changing themselves in order to be role models for their community and to inspire the community to change gender norms.