As president and CEO for the Ms. Foundation for Women, Anika Rahman works for equality for genders. Rahman’s interest in gender equality began in her childhood. Growing up in Bangladesh, Rahman found herself surrounded by strong and smart women who were treated unjustly.
Rahman experienced the inequities firsthand. After her mother divorced her father, an uncommon occurrence in Bangladesh, Rahman saw how society treated her mother as an outcast. Then, after she and her mother moved in with her grandmother and aunt, Rahman observed how “my grandmother ran all the finances, she made the business decisions, and even helped build houses, yet she couldn’t have a job.”
Those experiences and others inspired Rahman to advocate for gender equality. "For many years, I assumed that all women had been brought up with the same, empowering mentality [that I’d had]. I later realized that my grandmother's vision was revolutionary not only for her time, but also for ours," she said.
Rahman has spent her adulthood fighting for the dignity of women. The strength her elder female family members provided her continues on through her legacy. “These three incredibly strong women taught me to be unbowed by injustice, to fight it and to be tenacious. I am who I am because of what they taught me. I fight for women's rights and for human dignity for them and for my daughter.”
To read more inspiring stories of people raised in grandfamilies, download Generations United publication Grand Successes: Stories of Lives Well-Raised today!