Who owns the world and who merely lives in it?

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

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October 12, 2020

Who owns the world and who merely lives in it?

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The Thomson Reuters Foundation carried out a survey that stated that Dhaka ranked as the seventh most dangerous megacity for women. While sexual violence and cultural practices contribute to Bangladesh’s failure to protect women, what is often neglected is the disparity between men and women’s experiences of public spaces and the work needed to dismantle it.

Look at all of our streets and institutions named after and populated by men, and that tells you the story of power. Yet in this turbulent period of Covid-19, one thing is clear: Some countries have fared markedly better than others in suppressing the coronavirus -- and these countries tend to have female leaders.

Unfortunately, every default public setting in Bangladesh has been designed for men, and it will take active effort to make them open and inclusive for everyone.

Traditionally in Bangladesh, women have been primarily limited to private spaces, whereas men have had freer rein to frequent public spaces. The occupation of “public spaces” could mean the simple things that women can’t fully take for granted yet, such as to hang out at a park or go running, wander without purpose, eat a meal alone, take a solitary stroll at night, mingle in a crowd.

Click here to read the full article published by Dhaka Tribune on 11 October 2020.

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