Glory Of Our Daughters: Three British-Bangladeshi Women Strengthen Links Between The Countries


Yet again Bangladeshi women have come to the world attention with their hard work, courage and doggedness. Recently, people of the United Kingdom have elected three Bangladeshi women—including Tulip Siddiq, granddaughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, founding father of Bangladesh, as members of the House of Commons to serve them.

At the height of that success, these women have brought unmatched glory and honour for the country at the global level. Such a milestone has made our women stand proud before the world with pride and dignity. 

Given that a recent surge of immigrants making it in the West, and South Asians are on the move, including in politics, this landmark attainment is significant for everyone touched by the elections, UK and Bangladesh.

Moreover, a nation which strongly believes in equality has always had women on the forefront of each and every struggle that led the country where it is today. The nation is heavily indebted to women - starting from the unconditional sacrifice of war heroines to today’s leadership.

Let’s leaf through their pages of glory


Tulip Siddiq, eldest daughter of Sheikh Rehana, fought and won one of most marginal seats in UK election. Cited as one of the “rising stars” of the Labour party, she went on to become the first Bengali female councillor in Camden Council, before being elected MP for Hampstead and Kilburn at this year’s election.

Tulip Siddiq recorded a majority of 1,138. The seat had previously been the second tightest in the country after her predecessor won by just 42 votes five years ago. Conservative Party candidate Simon Marcus finished second, with 22,839 votes toTulip Siddiq’s 23,977.

Inspired by her aunt Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, at the age of 16, she choose to fight for equality and social justice. Initially, her struggle began with campaign for saving local hospitals, fire stations and post offices. For the people in her community, she became their change-maker.

Ms. Siddiq often looked to her aunt for advice. "She [Sheikh Hasina] has taught me how to conduct the electoral campaigns and how to take care of people”, said Tulip Siddiq, thanking her family members and the media for her victory.

Referring to the wins of Rushanara and Rupa, she said: "If we [the three MPs] can work together, we can do something better for our community [in the UK]."

Earlier, she had been a cabinet member for culture and communities in Camden Council. She also oversaw Camden's engagement with the 2012 London Olympics, which saw the launch of three legacy schemes to encourage more physical activities -- Camden Sports Academy, School and Community Games, and Pro-Active Ambassadors.

Prior to becoming Labour's candidate, she most recently worked for Brunswick Group LLP in corporate social responsibility, working with major British manufacturers and transport companies to strengthen their use of apprenticeship schemes and build on links with local communities and schools.

In 2010, Rushanara Ali, became the first British-Bangladeshi to sit in the House of Commons after beating George Galloway election with a majority of 11,574 votes. Five years later, public support for her reached a bigger height. She won her second spell in the British parliament from the Bethnal Green & Bow seat with a massive 24,317-vote lead over her Conservatives contender.

The last five years in opposition has been incredibly difficult but one of the highlights has been working with local residents on issues that matter to them like the National Health Service.

When she was seven, her family moved to the UK from Bangladesh. Following her schooling, she got herself a place at Oxford University and jobs in the UK parliament, the Institute for Public Policy and Research, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office before becoming an MP.

In October 2013, she was made the shadow minister for education in the Labour reshuffle. Before that, Rushanara was appointed at the Labour frontbench as the shadow minister for international development.

Another British citizen of Bangladeshi origin, Rupa won Ealing Central and Acton seat against sitting MP Angie Bray of the Conservatives.

Her parents came to the UK from Bangladesh in the 1960s. Born in London's Hammersmith area in 1972, Rupa studied Social and Political Sciences and Law at Cambridge University. After Cambridge, she earned her doctorate at the University of East London. She researched youth culture, and how young people use pop music to express themselves. In 1998, she started teaching at Manchester University, and in 2004 became a senior lecturer of Sociology and Criminology at Kingston University.

She joined the Labour Party, working on a successful campaign to win Cambridge for Labour in 1992. Rupa has published three books in this field as well as writing articles for the Guardian. She did some of her research in northern France, and kept in touch with politics by working at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

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