In 2017-18, Australia provided $1.3 billion in development assistance for gender equality and women's empowerment worldwide
Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls Dr Sharman Stone wrapped up her four-day visit on Thursday reiterating Australia's commitment to work with Bangladesh to address "high rates of violence" against women and girls.
In 2017-18, Australia provided $1.3 billion in development assistance for gender equality and women's empowerment worldwide.
In Bangladesh, Australia has contributed to the achievement of gender parity in primary education enrolments and completion rates, and continues to be a strong supporter of skill development for girls, said the Australian High Commission in Dhaka on Thursday.
In her meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, Ambassador Stone applauded the progress Bangladesh made on gender equality and women empowerment, particularly in achieving parity in school enrolments for girls.
She welcomed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership in promoting girls' education and women's economic empowerment and discussed the importance of financial inclusion programs to achieve this.
She expressed condolences for 19-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi, who died from her injuries after speaking out against sexual harassment and underlined that "no country is immune" from violence against women.
During her visit to Rohingya camps, Ambassador Stone was "struck" by the scale of the crisis, including its impact on the host community in Cox's Bazar.
Observing an Australian-funded Brac Community Empowerment Project, she was "impressed to see" how host community women, themselves living in poverty, were raising their voices, exercising their rights and working together to achieve economic empowerment.
The Ambassador visited the UNFPA women's friendly space, health centre and a Save the Children temporary learning centre in the camps.
To date, Australia's support has enabled over 30,000 girls and boys in the camps and host communities to access 365 learning centres.
Because of Australian Aid, the Australian High Commission says, these children are receiving basic education, access to healthcare and nutrition, and importantly, a safe place to play.
During a meeting with Brac Executive Director Dr Mohammed Musa, the ambassador shared some insights on the work Australia is supporting to tackle gender-based violence in the Pacific.
They agreed that it was extremely important to exchange knowledge and data on what works to address gender-based violence.
Ambassador Stone visited a Brac adolescent development program in Korail slum in the city to see how Australian aid is driving women's economic empowerment and gender equality through local partners.
Ambassador Stone met a group of impressive Bangladeshi women leaders, including alumni from the Australian Awards program. Half of nearly 3,000 Australian Awards alumni in Bangladesh are women.