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.


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 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.