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Parboti Roy: Championing positive changes for women in Bangladesh

Posted: 18 December 2018

Bangladesh, Private Sector,

Parboti Roy has always dreamt of working for the betterment of society and to improve gender equality in her home country, Bangladesh.

The Australia Awards alumna who comes from an indigenous community is now sharing her knowledge to create awareness of vital gender issues in her home country and change local perspectives on women. She believes the influence of her studies in Australia extends well beyond her role at her university and on her impact on government policies and programs in Bangladesh.

Prior to completing her Master of Women’s Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide, Parboti had completed her Bachelor and Master in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Dhaka. “My studies in Australia paved the way for me to fulfil my dream to be a teacher in a prominent private educational institution, like North South University [where she now works]. My university actively seeks faculty members who have foreign degrees in disciplines where their study can meet particular needs,” says Parboti.

Her university’s Department of Political Science and Sociology offers general education courses (such as gender and development, and sociology) for undergraduate students who have enrolled in a commerce and science background. She believes that her studies in Australia have added significant value to her career path, especially helping her to build her career in the private tertiary education sector and to expand her academic knowledge and professional skills.

In Australia, she learned much about the theoretical and practical implications of her discipline and, at the same time, came to know students from diverse backgrounds. “One of the most significant parts of my study was the guidance and cooperation from my teachers; this motivated me and contributed to my successful academic results,” she says.

Since returning from Australia, Parboti has published several research papers on indigenous women’s issues, gender-based violence against indigenous women, and gender and development. However, she sees the most significant achievement in her life to date as her ability to share with her students and peers the academic knowledge she gained in Australia and its practical implications.

“As a neophyte indigenous woman researcher, I am better equipped now to apply my knowledge in developing innovative ideas for research on gender, indigenous and development issues,” says Parboti.

Parboti’s new knowledge and skills have also helped transform her students’ understanding of gender issues. Students who have completed her course at North South University report that they previously held some misconceptions about several topics in gender studies, but taking her course has helped them to correct those fallacies and to apply knowledge on gender issues in their everyday lives.

“I am confident that my research publications are contributing to policy formulation and review of plans and programs about and for indigenous women, are helping to address gender-based violence, and have the potential to encourage future worthwhile research on gender, ethnicity and development,” Parboti says.

Since her return, Parboti has been promoted within her faculty on an annual basis, and she often represents North South University at national – and international level – seminars and conferences. Overall, she sees her Australia Awards Scholarship as making a significant positive difference to her life and career pathway.