Women Leaders

The purpose of the Bikoshito Nari (Unleashed Women) Network is to organize, empower and inspire the women of Bangladesh by building their capacity and developing their leadership skills to powerfully confront the issue of gender inequality. This special women’s leadership program trains women to take on projects such as stopping child marriages and dowries in their communities.

Women leaders are formed as the result of a four-year empowerment process, at the end of which every woman is empowered, able to advocate at the policy level and take a lead role in decision making both at home and within her community.
The 26-day training course is spread over a period of four years:

  • Year 1: three-day residential Foundational Course, followed by monthly, full-day trainings for the rest of the year. Trainings are led by The Hunger Project-Bangladesh staff from Dhaka and from the region of the training.
  • Year 2: Full-day trainings every other month
  • Year 3: Full-day, quarterly trainings
  • Year 4: Full-day trainings twice a year

The Foundational Course addresses topics such as what  gender is; the role of women in families and society; patriarchy  and women’s rights; and development initiatives. Throughout  the four years, there are scheduled trainings according to  particular topics, ranging from the role of women in their  unions, how to hold courtyard meetings, and domestic  violence. 

Women leaders gain a clearer understanding of gender and  their rights, and develop the necessary skills to advocate for  their rights and mobilize other women in their community.  

They develop plans to hold monthly activities to raise  awareness for their rights and the rights of others, through  courtyard meetings, campaigns and rallies.  

The women also become development leaders in their  communities, and form groups with other women to discuss  gender equality and social justice, in addition to creating  solutions to the challenges they identify in their daily lives. They  organize courtyard meetings on topics such as breastfeeding,  health and nutrition; lead campaigns against child marriage;  host human chains in honor of National Girl Child Day; and  participate in other Hunger Project programs.

The results are encouraging:

  • Two hundred and five (205) trained Bikoshito Nari Network leaders contested in Union Parishad elections, with 115 of them winning . A total of six (6) members won the Zila parishad election.

The Bikoshito Nari Network, launched in 2006,  in 2021 has 9,400 active members in 284 units across the country.

Geographical Distribution of BNN Units

Below are the  demographics of this national network (as of 28 February 2018):

DivisionBNN UnitsBNN Unit LeadersNumber of trained Women Leaders
District UnitsUpazila UnitsUnion UnitsTotal UnitDistrict UnitsUpazila UnitsUnion UnitsTotal Members