Female-headed households face serious poverty. Nearly one in every two female-headed
households falls below the poverty line, compared to less than two in five patriarchal
There were only six women in the previous 300-seat National Parliament of Bangladesh – or
two per cent of the representation26. Both leaders of the main political parties are women:
the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Begum Khaleda Zia, widow of former
president Ziaur Rahman; and the Awami League (AL) leader Sheikh Hasina, daughter of
former president and Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
In local government, about 25 per cent of the elected members are women27.