Dhaka - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Simply yes - Jul 2023

The Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian minorities are discriminated against. It's still a male-dominated society. Single women are vulnerable, second-class citizens. - Dec 2021

Absolutely. - Sep 2021

Women seem to be marginalized in Bangladesh. - Jun 2019

Yes...minorities of any sort have been targeted for assassination by terrorists. Women face many, many issues in Bangladesh. Gender-based violence is rampant. Discrimination against Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and the local tribal minorities is widespread. - Apr 2017

Yes. - Jun 2016

Yes. - May 2016

No, Bangladeshis are very kind people. - Jun 2015

no - Mar 2015

Women get stared at, super uncomfortable!!! There is definitely a class system here. Local rich people have no respect for the poor. Skin color is seen as "the lighter you are, the higher class you are"....they even advertise Skin Lightening Creams which is hilarious when we are at the pool tanning ourselves to be darker. These are just observations mostly among locals, I have not had problems myself. - Sep 2014

Yes. - Jul 2014

Anyone who doesn't look south Asian (whether you're White, Black, East Asian) will get stared at, but this is from curiosity rather than hostility. Women get an extra large dose of staring. Men will take pictures of you with their camera phones. I've only ever gotten heckled once/twice (while jogging, which women don't do here). - Aug 2013

Yes. In some neighborhoods, religious minorities (Hindus and Buddhists) are persecuted. With respect to foreigners, all are stared at, but mostly people are just curious. It's frowned upon for women to walk around in shorts or short skirts. Everyone stares anyway -- so you can always take your chances. I've never had anyone say anything really offensive to me or physically threaten me. - Apr 2013

Most people are muslims, but there are hindus, christians and buddhists here, too, in harmony. No prejudice that we see. - Aug 2011

None that I am aware of. Bangladesh is a primarily Muslim country, but there are a good mix of Christian's and Hindu's as well. They all seem very open to others religions. I have noticed no racial discrimination. - Jun 2011

Bangladeshis have more class issues than anything else, but their is some discrimination toward ethnic minorities and Burmese. White people are put on a pedestal on some levels, and resented on other levels. African American colleagues don't seem to experience outright discrimination by Bangladeshis, but deshis are extremely open about the fact that, for them, the whiter the skin, the better. (They're also alarmingly willing to call you fat to your face.) It's an incredibly patriarchal society, with defined gender roles and serious social prohibitions against physical contact between men and women. That's also, however, class related: wealthier, well traveled families are much more likely to be more 'western' in gender outlook. - Feb 2011

The people have problems with Pakistanis, and it is a male dominated society. - Jan 2011

Many Bangladeshis will stare at anyone who looks different from themselves, so different racial groups will experience that. - Jan 2011

This is a society with major class issues. This is most apparent amongst local staff working in the embassy and some elite Bangladeshis, who in many cases, go out of their way to distinguish themselves and show superiority towards those who are servants, rickshaw drivers, and others from lower social classes. This is an unfortunate generalization that obviously does not apply to all, but the attitude is pervasive, and I'd be amiss if I did not mention this issue. - Oct 2010

Some people do stare at you because you are very different. You get used to it after a while, and most do not mean any harm. - Apr 2010

By and large, Bangladeshis are pretty tolerant, but there is certainly a long and tumultuous history of conflict between Hindus and Muslims throughout the region. Bangladesh has made strides toward greater gender equality, but huge problems still remain. However, expat women are usually treated more like aliens from Mars than like women. - Oct 2009

Yes, yes, and yes. Those who are Hindu occasionally bear the brunt of religious violence. Men are deferred to. If you are a young woman, you will have to work extra hard if you are in a position of authority. - Aug 2009

Definitely. This is a majority Muslim country with deeply ingrained gender disparity that is both religious and cultural. It can be frustrating to live and work here. - Mar 2009

Yes, but not overt. - Nov 2008

Not that I know of. - Mar 2008

Women get stared at all the time. I've only experienced about two instances of harrassment in my two years - it's limited to staring and gawking. There are racial prejudices though nothing security-related. It's limited to poorer service or stereotypical interactions. - Feb 2008

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