While most people think of women's rights activism and see a group of only women, one program in Bangladesh is attempting to change that perception.
The BraveMen Campaign (BMC), led by Dr. Sayed Saikh Imtiaz and organized by the National Human Rights Commission, is now functioning in more than 50 schools throughout Bangladesh. The campaign urges young boys to get involved in fighting for women's rights and ending violence against women. By getting the boys participating in events and activities to support women's causes, Dr. Imtiaz is slowly "changing perceptions of gender," The Daily Star's Md Shahnawaz Khan Chandan writes.
The battle for women's rights in Bangladesh has a long way to go, with women facing discrimination in the workplace and in the classroom as well as high rates of harassment, abuse and sexual violence. Research by ActionAid found that more than 49 percent of women and young girls in Bangladesh cities say they feel unsafe. Approximately 87 percent of married women in Bangladesh are victims of domestic abuse, according to the 2011 Violence against Women Survey.
Through BMC, boys at Chhaikola High School in Pabna, a district in north-western Bangladesh, go house-to-house to campaign for women's rights, participate in rallies for International Women's Day, take on household chores with their moms and keep a diary of their interactions with and treatment of women.
"Dr. Imtiaz believes that it is important to reach out to young students as they develop a particular notion regarding women during these formative years," Chandan writes.
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