Two powerful women – Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia – have dominated Bangladeshi politics for decades, but the South Asian country's women are still underrepresented in parliament and are politically marginalized.
Nazla Ibtesham, an 18-year-old student, was hugely disappointed when election officials turned down her voter ID due to some "technical issues." She and her friends wanted to make their voice heard in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
"Women in Bangladesh are vulnerable. They are routinely harassed, raped and even murdered," Ibtesham told DW, adding that active political participation could turn things around.
According to recent research conduced by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), 94 percent of Bangladeshi women are being sexually harassed in public. But harassment is just one aspect of the overall social discrimination against women in Bangladesh.
Women constitute half of Bangladesh's 164 million people, however they are largely excluded from political decision-making.
Some 51.5 million female voters – 49.5 percent of the total 104 million voters – are eligible to cast their ballots in the upcoming general election. Despite this large number of voters, the women representation in Bangladeshi parliament is negligible.
At present, the 350-strong Bangladeshi parliament has only 22 directly elected female legislators. In addition, there are 50 reserved seats for women who are not directly elected and have no constituency.
Click here to read the full article published by Deutsche Welle on 12 December 2018.