Ferdous Ara Begum

Gender Issues Specialist; Former Member of UN CEDAW Committee; Former Director General, Bangladesh Television

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Ferdous Ara Begum is a Former Member of the UN CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) Committee and is currently serving as Expert Consultant on Gender Issues to UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Dhaka Bangladesh. She also completed a Master of Publication Administration at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in the United States. 

In 1994, Ms. Begum became the first woman Commissioner of Taxes in Bangladesh, and later in 2005, the first woman to lead Bangladesh Television (BTV) as the Director General. Throughout her career in government service, media, and academia, Ms. Begum has worked extensively to promote women’s rights, access, and empowerment. While working as Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, between 2002 and 2004, she was involved in 34 gender-specific projects designed to provide social and legal protection for women and children in the rural areas of Bangladesh. During her tenure, she also took the initiative to implement the concluding observations of the CEDAW Committee.

Ms. Begum has worked closely with a number of NGOs seeking to bring about changes in government policies and programs. She has addressed a wide range of national and international conferences, focusing on key issues such as training and capacity-building to end gender-based violence, women and child trafficking, feminization of migration, and poverty. Ms. Begum has contributed to several reports on women’s rights and advancement in South Asia. She is also the author of Dowry: A Social Crime, published in 2004.