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H.E Irving Levance secures assistance from Gender Issues Specialists from Pakistan

Since its inception, the Intergovernmental Organization EDU has placed a high priority on promoting Gender Equality, the Education of the Girl Child and the Empowerment of Women. It is therefore a matter of great pride that the Secretary-General, His Excellency Irving Levance, welcomes to the ranks of the Assessment Committee , Ms. Ferdous Ara Begum of Bangladesh.

Ms. Begum is a Gender Issues Specialist of world renown and is a former member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW) where she served from 2007 to 2010.


She led   the working group as Chairperson of the General Recommendation on Older Women and Protection of their Human Rights at the CEDAW.  The General Recommendation was adopted by the CEDAW Committee in October, 2010.


Older Women across the globe experience multiple forms of discrimination on the grounds of age and sex which is often a result of unfair resource allocation, maltreatment, neglect and limited access to basic services.

The adoption of this General Resolution would strengthen the human rights situation of older women in the States parties and give a strong signal that discrimination based on age and sex is both morally and legally unacceptable and needs to be addressed across a range of policy mechanism. 

As a CEDAW Committee member for four years she participated in the examination of both initial and periodic reports of 115 State Parties who ratified CEDAW. She also monitored the human rights situation and advancement of women through the constructive dialogue and concluding observations and follow-up measures.


She has been a keynote speaker of many regional and international forums on gender and ageing issues.  Her recent work being “ELDER ABUSE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE: IT’S NATURE AND EXTENT AND HOW TO PROTECT THE POTENTIAL VICTIMS”, which has generated a lot of interest among human rights activists. She has also worked as the International CEDAW Report Reviewer of the Government of Afghanistan.

Over three decades of expertise

In her 32 years of continuous public service, she has been active in educating and creating public awareness on importance of women’s rights and actively influenced women’s financial independence. 

  • As a former civil servant she was the first woman to lead Bangladesh Television as Director General, and also the first female Commissioner of Taxes in Bangladesh.

  • She served as a Board Member of the Nobel Peace Prize winning "Bank for the Poor" Grameen Bank for six years and played an important role in creating self employment opportunities for the rural poor women and helped mainstreaming women’s rights issues in Government Polices.

  • As Director General of the Bangladesh Television, she promoted programs that emphasized gender equality, women’s empowerment, awareness of HIV/AIDS, human trafficking and migration issues, and also increased broadcasting hours for educational programs.



She is an MPA from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, USA and also studied at the Princeton University, USA, earning an M.A. Degree in Economics from the University of Dhaka.

Future Collaboration

Ms. Begum declared herself to be excited at the opportunity to collaborate with EDU as a Senior Advisor and Assessor.

In turn, the Secretary-General H.E. Irving Levance, believes that the recruitment of such a prominent and well respected Gender Issues Specialist will prove to be of major benefit to EDU in its continuing dedication to the elimination of discrimination against females in the educational arena.

Other Links of Interest

(video presentation to IFA) Protecting Victims of Sexual Abuse and Violence (featuring Ms. Ferdous Ara Begum)

 CEDAW - UN Presentation of General Recommendation 27 (FERDOUS ARA BEGUM)  (Personal website of Ms. Begum)

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