Carleton experts helping promote gender equality in Bangladesh

The Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s Studies (PJIWS) and the Institute for European and Russian Studies (EURUS) will be collaborating on a $10.6 million project focusing on gender equality in Bangladesh.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is funding the five-year project, dubbed “Policy Leadership Advocacy for Gender and Equality” (PLAGE 2). PLAGE 2 is the second phase of a project started in 1998 by Cowater International Inc., a consulting firm specializing in international development.

Pauline Rankin, Director of PJIWS, explains the goal of the project is to “work in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs in Bangladesh to help them achieve their gender equality goals.”

The Canadian government kick-started this project in 1998 by making a 20-year commitment to promoting gender equality in Bangladesh. For the second phase, Cowater approached Carleton for its expertise in the information, communication and research component of the project. Carleton will be working on this large-scale project with other Canadian organizations.

“We are happy to be brought in and hope to be involved as that commitment unfolds,” says Rankin.

This is one of the largest-ever CIDA sponsored projects on this subject, and it comes in the wake of a similar one on women and labour-market reform in Russia that Carleton recently completed. Director of EURUS, Piotr Dutkiewicz says the success of the last project will be helpful for those working in Bangladesh.

“We will be building on those experiences,” he says, adding that the collaboration of EURUS and PJIWS allows for different perspectives on this issue. “Each of us brings specific expertise to this project.” The research team also hopes to draw from the expertise of other departments as needed.

Independent consultant, Katrina Murray is part of Carleton’s core team of researchers on this project and has already made her first trip to Bangladesh. She says this opportunity will bring with it a lot of challenges.

“The problems are as real as I imagined,” she attests. But Murray remains optimistic, and thinks that the Carleton/Cowater team can accomplish something significant by working closely with other international donors on the project.

Carleton’s core team of project researchers also includes Eva Rathgeber, the joint Chair of Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa and Carleton.

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