Stand with the Women of Grameen Bank to Prevent an Unacceptable Violation of Women’s Rights
The Microcredit Summit Campaign is sponsoring a petition on Change.org to tell Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh that the continued actions of her government against the independence of Grameen Bank are not acceptable. Starting with the removal of Prof Muhammad Yunus as managing director last year, it is clear that the government is seeking to eliminate a perceived political rival and to appropriate the resources of Grameen Bank and the Grameen social enterprises for its own use.
Along with the Campaign, this action has been led by Vidar Jorgensen of Grameen America, Sam Daley-Harris of the Center for Citizen Empowerment and Transformation, Joanne Carter of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund, and Asad Mahmood.
Sign the petition: http://mcs2015.org/GBpetition_en
What is the situation?
Today the independence of Grameen Bank and the ownership shares of its women clients are threatened by the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh. Over the past few years, Prime Minister Hasina has led efforts by her government to force Professor Yunus out of his position as managing director of the Bank. The government has now appointed a commission to look into the operations of Grameen Bank and make recommendations as to its future leadership. This commission is widely seen as a way for the government to take control of the Grameen Bank from its women borrower-owners.
This is not just about Grameen. This is about the autonomy of microfinance organizations and civil society institutions in all countries.
We are asking you to sign the petition and share it with your community and contacts to show that the microfinance community will stand up for anyone threatened in this way. These tactics are not unique to Bangladesh, and a government takeover in Bangladesh of one of the largest microfinance institutions in the world (with 8.3 million clients) sets a dangerous precedent.
This is also a human rights issue.
Grameen Bank has long been a leader not only in microfinance and poverty-reduction efforts, but also in its work empowering poor, rural women of Bangladesh. It has been a much-emulated model for the rest of the world. Women make up 97 percent of Grameen Bank’s borrowers, own more than 95 percent of the equity in the bank, and are represented by 9 of the 13 seats on the Board of Directors. These women owners shared in the Nobel Peace Prize given to Grameen Bank and its founder, Muhammad Yunus in 2006. Therefore, any additional interference by the government in the authority of Grameen’s Board of Directors would be an enormous setback to the human and legal rights of these women.
What you can do.
With less than two months until the Bangladesh government-appointed commission releases its recommendations for the future of the Grameen Bank, it is essential we use every tool at our disposal to urge Prime Minister Hasina to protect the independence of the Bank and its borrowers.
- Sign the petition: http://mcs2015.org/GBpetition_en
- Spread the word by email, your Twitter profile, your Facebook page, and your LinkedIn group. (Once you’ve signed the petition, you can share it on your social media sites, too.)
- Use the hashtag #SaveGrameen.
- To your organization officially endorse the petition, email Sabina Rogers at rogers[at]microcreditsummit[dot]org.