By focusing on three different national level women’s organisations in Bangladesh, this article looks at how the movements have used different strategies to become an effective voice for women’s interests and empowerment at civil society and state levels.
The importance of framing their issues in a non-contentious way, building alliances with like-minded groups and the strength of personal networks can be clearly seen. Reaching out to these diverse groups has meant the organisations at times making strategic choices, which allowed the groups to create space and legitimacy for their agenda. Relying on personal networks is shown to carry certain risks for sustainability and their ineffective engagement with political parties can reduce their influence, but ultimately their strategies for mobilising support and building constituencies has gained these organisations greater legitimacy and strength as advocates of women’s issues.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 41.2 (2010) Reciprocity, Distancing, and Opportunistic Overtures: Women’s Organisations Negotiating Legitimacy and Space in Bangladesh