Gender, Advocacy and Leadership Development Training
for Indigenous Women of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)
  1-3 October 2013 | MORE NEWS

This training has been uniquely designed for CHT indigenous women working in different indigenous peoples organisations, CHT based indigenous women NGOs and network and youth women wing of political organization of the indigenous people of CHT. Using the gender justice framework to address structural cause of inequality and international and national women rights instruments, the training focused particularly on status of CHT Indigenous women in traditional ethnic laws and customs and their reproductive burden evolved from unpaid care work.

Twenty participants from 11 organisations participated in the training.  


A misconception exists that matriarchy is the base of social order in CHT ethnic groups and so their women enjoy more autonomy in comparison to Bengali women which is merely a myth. A study commissioned by BNPS in 2011 on Status of CHT Indigenous women in Traditional Ethnic Laws and Customs revealed the realities of discriminations to women legitimated through customs and practices. Based on the study findings BNPS has been facilitating CHT women organisations in mobilising opinion and action on reformation of customary laws discriminatory to women through involving ethnic leaders, local MPs, political parties, human and women rights activists, peace activists and media. This advocacy is also included the following agenda recommended by women participated in FGDs conducted under the study:

  1. Women’s role in decision making
  2. Gender discrimination in access to resources, education, healthcare
  3. Autonomy over own income
  4. Participation in arbitration, leadership
  5. Scenario of domestic violence

Capacity building is a component of this intervention to foster this reform initiative.


BNPS believes that women, providing with certain enabling conditions, are able to not only articulate and access their rights but also able to emerge as leaders facilitating positive social changes.

The objective of this particular training was to build capacity of women from different CHT organisations and institution to lead the process of challenging the structural mechanism of gender inequality and advancing indigenous women’s status in family and society.

The aim was also to develop a network of participants to address the issues in a collective manner.  




Besides conceptual clarity on gender and women rights, the training offered necessary skills to become effective leaders in mobilizing, organising, raising awareness and advocating for women rights at all level with particular emphasis to the context of CHT indigenous communities.

Thus the training enhanced participant’s conceptual understanding and built their skills towards effective activism and advocacy around women rights.

Course component:

  1. Social construction of gender
  2. Understanding patriarchy
  3. Gender role and women’s reproductive burden in perspective of indigenous women
  4. Gender justice, equality and women empowerment
  5. Strategies and skills for effective advocacy
  6. Orientation with relevant policies
  7. Leadership quality and skill, barriers and way forward for women leadership
  8. Status of CHT Indigenous women in traditional ethnic laws and customs and how to steer the reform process


Participants left the training with the capacity to:

  1. Provide others with conceptual analysis of the social construction of  gender, patriarchy and barriers for women’s rights
  2. Create and raise awareness on reform of discriminatory laws, customs and practices through their organisation’s intervention
  3. Apply national and international women and human rights norms and laws in their own ethnic groups
  4. Lead and engage in advocacy at all levels through their own organisations

Network building
The participants formed ‘Forum for CHT Women’s Leaders’, a network of their own to advance CHT women’s interests collectively. The forum has developed an action plan to address following issues:

  1.  Enforcement of marriage registration
  2. Equal rights in inheritance
  3. Participation in traditional arbitration

Resource persons

  1. Shahnaz Sumi, Deputy Director, BNPS
  2. Nasrin Begum, Assistant Coordinator, BNPS
  3. Advocate Sushmita Chakma, Lawyer
  4. Robiul Alom, Coordinator, BNPS
  5. Faisal Bin Majid, Coordinator, BNPS

Course Coordinator:  Dilara Rekha, Coordinator, BNPS

Social1 social3 social4 social2
Exceeded symptoms line Facilitating interaction of grassroots people and policy makers on women’s reproductive health services and girl’s education From deficiency to solvency Mill plants give life




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