I went home to Bangladesh after three years last month, and although the trip was personal and I try to make a point not to work, I was too honored to turn down an invitation to speak at the Fortnightly Anannya’s auditorium in Dhaka. The publication, amongst its many other social contributions, also manages a space for feminist discourses. Anannya is one of Bangladesh’s premiere women’s rights magazines, and since it was founded by my mother, former Member of Parliament, Tasmima Hossain, it is a magazine I literally grew up with.
Although I travel regularly across the US speaking on global women’s rights movements, it was so wonderful to flip the experience and be speaking about the South Asian feminist movement with South Asian feminists. I enjoyed talking to a Bangladeshi audience about Bangladeshi women, our struggles and victories, as well as discussing the struggle for reproductive health and rights in America.
I often touch upon the theme of women struggling for different rights around the world, yet struggling nonetheless in my work. During the almost three hour intimate roundtable discussion with noted feminists and journalists, we touched upon challenging gender norms in Bangladesh, what it means to have it all, why it’s important to have young feminists, and why the American feminist movement is still so focused on abortion.