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BBC 100 Women 2020: 2 Bangladeshis on the list

Two Bangladeshi women — Rina Akhter, a former sex worker, and Rima Sultana Rimu, a teacher — have been included in BBC’s annual list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world.

This year ‘100 Women’ is highlighting those who are leading change and making a difference during these turbulent times, according to the BBC.

The list also includes Sanna Marin, who leads Finland’s all-female coalition government, Michelle Yeoh, star of the new Avatar and Marvel films and Sarah Gilbert, who heads the Oxford University research into a coronavirus vaccine, the report said.

RINA AKTER

During the pandemic, Rina and her team of helpers have served around 400 meals a week — including rice, vegetables, eggs and meat — to sex workers in Dhaka who have found themselves without clients, and are struggling to buy food.

“People see our profession as demeaning, but we do it to buy food. I am trying to make sure women in this profession are not left hungry, and their children will not have to do this work,” Rina Akter told BBC.

RIMA SULTANA RIMU

Rima Sultana Rimu is a member of Young Women Leaders for Peace in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This programme, part of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, aims to empower young women from conflict-affected countries to be leaders and agents of peace.

Rima responded to the Rohingya refugee crisis in her community by advocating for gender-responsive humanitarian action.

She organises gender-sensitive, age-appropriate literacy and numeracy classes for Rohingya refugees, and for women and girls in the community who lack access to education.

“I am determined to bring gender equality to Bangladesh. I believe in the power of women and girls to fight for our rights. We will succeed,” she said while talking to BBC.

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