1st Edition

Advancing Gender Equality in Bangladesh Twenty Years of BRAC’s Gender Quality Action Learning Programme

    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    178 Pages
    by Routledge

    In 1994, BRAC, the world's largest NGO, made headlines by putting women's rights centre stage in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world. The Gender Quality Action Learning (GQAL) Programme was one of the very first large-scale efforts to mainstream gender equality and aimed to weave objectives of gender equality throughout its own microfinance, education and health services.

    Advancing Gender Equality in Bangladesh describes the history, implementation, and outcome of this major 20-year initiative and discusses the lessons learnt throughout the fight to achieve gender equality outcomes in an effort to provide a tangible framework for future organizations interested in promoting gender equality and social inclusion. At a time when many gender equality programmes are still relatively young, this book offers a unique opportunity to track 20 years of intervention within a theoretical and cultural context and provides a platform for ongoing discussion about the roles of empowerment and gender transformation as agents for social change.

    This book provides an in-depth analysis of how strategies for change have operated in practice and will be of considerable interest to students, researchers and practitioners of international development, gender studies and social justice theory as well as those interested in a new practical methodology of the gender role framework.

    List of acronyms

    Chapter 1. The Context in 1994
    Chapter 2. Strengthening BRAC’s Ability to Advance Gender Equality
    Chapter 3. Implementing GQAL in BRAC

    Chapter 4. Implementing GQAL in the Community

    Chapter 5. Conclusion



    Rieky Stuart, Aruna Rao, David Kelleher, Sheepa Hafiza, Carol Miller, Hasne Begum

    "This important book demonstrates that advances in gender equality are possible within organizations and communities. It also demonstrates that change takes time, the willingness of organizations and communities to learn and adapt, and a dedicated team to promote change. The approach of the Gender Quality Action Learning team was both practical (learning from problems) and strategic (aiming for structural change): reflecting and embodying Maxine Molyneux’s framework of "practical" and "strategic" interests of women. The results of the Gender Quality Action Learning project are impressive, as well documented in this book. The challenge for BRAC is to sustain the gains made in gender equality while also tackling other inequalities: as the lives and work of women in poor households in Bangladesh are shaped not only by patriarchal gender norms but also by class interests, corporate practices and economic policies." – Marty Chen, International Coordinator of the WIEGO Network and Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, USA who helped start BRAC’s Women’s Program in the 1970s

    "This book is about one of BRAC's transformational projects in advancing a gender equality and women's empowerment agenda in Bangladesh. It shows that significant headway is possible to change poor women's condition and position and in mainstreaming gender equality in a large organization within a patriarchal society". – Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, Vice Chairperson on the BRAC Board of Governors, Bangladesh

    "Advancing Gender Equality in Bangladesh: Twenty Years of BRAC’s Gender Quality Action Learning Program by Rieky Stuart, Aruna Rao, David Kelleher, Sheepa Hafiza, Hasne Ara Begum and Carol Miller (Routledge 2017, forthcoming) provides an in-depth analysis of the history and impact of an extraordinary twenty-year experiment in mainstreaming gender in one of the world’s largest NGOs, while also offering readers a practical, tested methodology for building cultures of gender-sensitive change applicable to other organizations. The approach facilitates locally-led problem solving and adaptation to addressing discriminatory gender norms. It starts with problems or issues rather than ready-made solutions, lending itself well to contemporary calls for approaches to development that prioritize learning and adaptation. The authors provide evidence of the link between investments in internal organizational change efforts and changes in program quality and program outcomes for women and communities which have sometimes been illusive in work on gender mainstreaming. The book will be extremely valuable for those researching gender and institutions as well as those working inside organizations to make change happen." Professor Naila Kabeer, London School of Economics, UK