Young feminist fair 2018

Feminism, as an idea, has been stigmatised in this male dominated society. However, to observe the International Women’s Day, Young Feminist Network organised a three-day long fair to demystify the prevailing misconceptions. Zaara Zareen visited the fair and shares her experience. 

28577013_599030767110032_7324010976807834892_n(1)I have had the privilege of attending the Young Feminist Fair a few days ago, which is the first fair centred on the idea of feminism, in the country. The event was a three-day long one, starting from March 3 and continued till March 5. It was organised by Global Platform Bangladesh and The Young Feminist Network to celebrate the International Women’s Day. The Young Feminist Network is a movement of young activists in Bangladesh that advocates women’s rights. A group of various organisations such as Shakti, SBMSS, Alo, Jaago Foundation, Leaping Boundaries, and Happy Homes, who also share the same view as YFN were also a part of this network. This event was created to give people a better idea about feminism and to clear out misconceptions stigma around. It addressed the stigma of feminism, which is being known to be a ‘man hating’ movement by many ordinary people, even to many women or how it is often wrongly tucked away under the broad spectrum of humanism.

28795283_1817373291614532_2548217953290604724_n(1)An important focus of GPB was trying to bring young feminists together regardless of their gender, and collaborating with everyone and creating a network which will work against the discrimination that exists. The role of this network is to bring the balance and equality for women’, said Ariful Haque Shanil, a training officer who is involved with YFN since November last year.

The theme for the event of this year was based on the rural life of Bangladesh. Many of the organisations under the YFN’s network had also set up various stalls where they were showcasing different products their community had crafted.

28576425_599030703776705_131364602574894717_n(1)For each day a different topic was set. For the first day, the topic was women’s rights especially emphasising on the discrimination. Youth project coordinator Jolly Nur and Shagufi from Leap and Boundaries were among the panelists for the day. They shared their experiences and showed the way how we can work together to advocate women’s rights. Another focus of the evening was the drama group who brought to light the various discriminations and harassment issues against women in this society through their beautiful, interactive performances. A short film competition was also organised for youth film makers and selected 12 films were screened in this fair. On the first day, six such films were shown and their directors were welcomed to talk about their works.

The second day started with an art session where the participants had to use art to portray discrimination on different levels of the society. Everyone drew their heart out to try and bring these discriminations into light, on the canvas, for the spectators.

There was also a panel about different social movements. Samiuddin Ahmed, manger of Youth Action and Mashrur Hossain of Bangladesh Police, and Sheuly, a volunteer from SBMSS were the panelists for this session. They talked about the need for social movement and what kind of role we need to play to ensure gender equality. This was followed by a drama organised by the group Bonnishito. Afterwards the rest of the movies from the short film competition, in the presence of the directors, were presented before the audience.

The final day started with a panel centred on the topic ‘role of youth in the electoral campaigns’. Nabin ahmed from Barisal Gonoshonghati, Bushra Farizma Hussain, a volunteer and a YFN member, Zakia Jannat, a youth council member, and Nazmul Ahsan talked about how we can contribute to the electoral campaigns and the responsibilities that we have towards them. This was followed by a wonderful performance by the LGBTQI community. Next in line, was a drama centred on the LGBTQI community by the Bonnishikha group. This was followed by an award night and finally a gala cultural night which added the perfect end to this spectacular event with a brilliant cause.


Zaara Zareen is a student of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh.


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