“BRAC believes in gender justice and diversity, and we have worked for decades to integrate gender justice into the programmes and eliminate gender injustice in society,” such is the opinion of the Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. For BRAC, gender justice and diversity means working simultaneously within the organisation and with the society.
The gender justice and diversity (GJD) division works to realise BRAC’s vision which is to free the world from all forms of exploitation and discrimination where everyone has the opportunity to realise their potential. The division facilitates services to achieve gender equality within BRAC, focusing on gender equality at the local, national and international levels, where women and men have access to equal rights and opportunities, as well as can act to realise own choices and potentials in economic, social and cultural spheres.
After starting its official journey in 2005, the programme has a proven track record in facilitating community movement on violence against women (VAW) and children. It helps to build a gender-friendly working environment and community platform. Each individual within BRAC and in the community works as agents of change to establish a just society for women, men and children. Besides, the programme has been trying to incorporate the issue of diversity in all programme interventions. It acts as a catalyst to promote sensitivity on issues such as sexual and reproductive rights, people with different sexual orientation, and people with different abilities and cultural background. In addition to this, GJD is actively involved in the national level policy advocacy through different human rights organisations, networks and alliances of government, non-government, and civil society organisations. GJD further seeks to work with various government departments to implant gender sensitivity and equality in future national policies.
GJD’s journey towards gender equality is rooted in BRAC’s Sulla Project in 1973. Recognising the distinct needs of poor women for empowerment and mutual support, BRAC formed the first women’s village organisation. Since the late 1980s, BRAC has directed its policies and programmes toward achieving gender equality through sustained interventions targeting women's—especially rural women’s - basic needs and strategic interests through health care, legal education, access to credit, gender awareness and training, and more. While addressing various issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment, GJD focus on both BRAC and the targeted populations. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed once said, “Gender equality is a sensitive issue which requires commitment from every level of the organisation and the integration of gender perspective into all activities”. Thanks to this commitment, BRAC was one of the firsts in the development world to introduce a gender policy and form a gender equality diversity team (GEDT) in the mid-1990s.
Promote gender equality, empowerment and inclusiveness within BRAC as well as within the wider community.
1. To promote a culture and environment, inclusiveness within all programmes, that respects gender equality
2. To build capacity of staff to achieve BRAC’s goal of gender equality
3. To create a platform for community mobilisation against gender-based discrimination and domestic violence, sexual harassment at the workplace and public-place
4. To promote sexual and reproductive health rights within the society
5. To increase policy advocacy networking for women’s rights, both nationally and internationally