In Bangladesh, parents generally spend more money on their daughters’ weddings than their education. But things are changing …
A computer whirs to life in a small shop in Bangladesh’s chaotic capital Dhaka. Outside rickshaw drivers bargain for fares and street sellers call out the day’s fish prices. The phone rings. Hasna Hena, 15, takes the call in one hand, her other flying over the track pad to open Photoshop. It’s another new client needing a poster design.
An hour away in the rural town of Tongi, Mahmuda Akhter, 16, sits in a mobile phone servicing shop in the main market. A stressed looking customer rushes in with his phone. Holding a small screwdriver, Mahmuda pries open the cover of his mobile and diagnoses the problem.
In the outskirts of Rajshahi, six hours from Dhaka, Khadija Akhter, 18, kick-starts a shiny red and black motorcycle she has just fixed. “Everything should be fine now,” she tells the owner. She jumps on to take it for a test ride around the block, disappearing in a cloud of dust.
Not so long ago it would have been unusual for a young woman to be a graphic designer, a phone service provider, or a mechanic – especially in a country where few women drive.