Carter Center and Manusher Jonno Foundation Release Recommendations on Improving Gender Equity in Access to Information in Bangladesh


Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,
In Dhaka, Dr. Shahnaz Karim,

DHAKA, BANGLADESH — Women in Bangladesh cannot access government information as easily as can men, according to a new study conducted by The Carter Center in collaboration with the Manusher Jonno Foundation, and with the support of the Information Commission of Bangladesh.

Carried out in six districts, including Dhaka, the Women and the Right of Access to Information in Bangladesh study is based on more than 550 interviews with community leaders, experts, public agency employees, and citizens entering agencies for information or services. A significant majority of community leaders and experts agreed that women are not able to access information with the same frequency, ease, and rate of success as men. Primary obstacles that preclude equal access to information include illiteracy, lack of knowledge about the right to information and how or where to ask for it, cultural factors, and issues of time and mobility.

Following the release of the report, key government and civil society representatives met to draft action-oriented recommendations to ensure greater access of information for women. These recommendations include:

  • Increase awareness of the right of access to information and the gender asymmetries in flows of information.
  • Provide additional specialized training for designated officers and Union Parishad representatives, with a focus on gender sensitivity, customer service, and support for illiterate requesters, and include the topic of women and access to information in all general trainings related to the right to information.
  • Provide training for organizations working with women to enhance their ability to utilize the right of access to information and to support women seeking information.
  • Expand the use of infomediaries to more effectively reach women with meaningful information.
  • Establish stakeholder committees to, among other things, coordinate efforts; develop joint activities to advance the right of access to information for women; share experiences and best practices; cultivate incentives for increasing women’s access to information; and monitor progress and conduct periodic reviews.
  • Develop campaigns and mechanisms to engage a cross-section of society to change mindsets and to support women’s access to information.

“Access to information is a fundamental right and can support increased economic empowerment and the promotion and protection of other rights. While the obstacles facing women in the exercise of the right to information are many, the results of this study, along with these recommendations, provide direction on how to begin to overcome the numerous challenges,” said Laura Neuman, director of the Carter Center’s Global Access to Information Program. “Fortunately, there are a number of strong and committed supporters of women’s right of access to information in Bangladesh, both in government and civil society. We must work together to improve access to meaningful information for all Bangladeshis, and in particular, women.”

Find the complete list of recommendations here and the executive summary of the report here.


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A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.