The all-women morning kitchen market 'Bou Bazaar' of Chandpur

The all-women morning kitchen market ‘Bou Bazaar’ of Chandpur


Dhaka, Aug 20 – If anyone visits Chandpur municipality, a district down on the bank of the mighty Meghna in the mid-eastern part of Bangladesh, one should not miss a unique kitchen market on its Mayor Road where all the sellers and the buyers are women. Housewives mostly from low-income families sell not only vegetables, grocery items and fish, but also many other items including needles, yarn, bracelets, necklaces, toys, chocolates, biscuits, chips, beverage, tea and even cigarettes in the makeshift market which is locally known as ‘Bou Bazaar’.
Locals said a group of 3-4 women started selling goods in the area nearly 30 years back, aiming to market their household products.
Now, around 80 women shop-keepers sell products worth around Tk 3 lakh daily sitting under tents or the open sky braving scorching heat, heavy rainfall in the summer to bone-chilling cold in the winter to supplement their family income.
Amena Begum and Nargis shopper at the market, said every morning their husbands go to Puran Bazar on the bank of the Meghna River and Paler Bazar wholesale markets in the district town and purchase vegetables and fish. They then sell those items at their makeshift market at cheaper prices at minimum profits.
One kilogram of Pangasius fish sells here at Tk 100 against Tk 150 to Tk 170 in other markets, the sellers said. They sell vegetable items at Tk 15 to Tk 20 per kg as against Tk 40 to TK 50 a kg charged in other local markets, they claimed.
This correspondent found a group of female sellers, including Sheli Begum, 30, Amena Begum, 35, Nargis, 25, Nazma, 25, Habiba, 30, Johra, 37, Maju, 50, and Rehana ,30, selling different items to their customers.
Most of the shop-keepers live in adjacent the areas to the market. They generally sit in the market early in in the morning and continue their business till 11 am.
Sheli Begum, a shop-keeper, said, “We don’t feel shy in running the market …we’re very confident …nobody disturbs me and demands any toll from me either.”
Ohab Gazi, 55, a resident of the area, said, “These female shop-keepers run their business with small capital — of Tk 800 to Tk 3,000 each.” On average, Gazi added, they earn a profit of Tk 200-Tk 300 a day.
Shamim Khan, another resident of the area, said a few years back the traders of Puran Bazar Kitchen market, another market in the municipality area, took an attempt to evict the all women market. However, these hardworking female shop-keepers foiled the evil attempt, Khan added.
Locals said the mayor of Chandpur Municipality Nasiruddin Ahmed along with panel mayor Siddiqur Rahman Dhali, councilor Mohammad Ali Majhee and local social workers provide support to the female shop-keepers to continue their small businesses there. – UNB


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