NGOs and their Economic Relationship with Women in Bangladesh


NGOs and their Economic Relationship with Women in Bangladesh



Krista R. Borchers, Laura Ann Hughes, Dominic A. Ortenzo



Based on the work and data gathered by Counterpart International, a development agency funded by USAID, this presentation focuses on how gender in Bangladesh is constructed both conceptually and in practice. This is part of a larger program Counterpart International has implemented since 2018, titled, ‘Promoting Advocacy and Rights’ (PAR) in collaboration with local NGOs. Anchored in the Gender/Women in Development (GID/WID) approach, PAR aims to deepen democratic values within civil society to improve public governance. Our specific goal is to examine how the development project implemented by the NGOs plan to ‘include’ women, who are their target population. During our research, we have come to the understanding that NGOs often have a double-sided nature. Although NGOs come with the intent of help and aid, there are many times that they misunderstand the culture and actual effects of their work in a given country. Understanding gender roles in culture is critical to finding success within development projects. In Bangladesh, there are many layers to the economic situation of women. Similarly, they have a complicated history working with international NGOs, specifically in terms of microfinance. This presentation first outlines Counterpart’s efforts in improving civil society, especially looking at gender equality and advancing equal opportunity. Next, we use the critical development studies framework to identify gaps in the project design and offer some recommendations based on our semester-long work on deepening our understanding of Bangladesh as a unique country. Finally, we analyze the development project using the critical framework of access, effects, and control.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Capstone Project

Primary Advisor

Simanti Dasgupta

Primary Advisor's Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

NGOs and their Economic Relationship with Women in Bangladesh