Nehraz Mahmud

She is focusing on the barriers to women's rights to property in Bangladesh.

Nehraz Mahmud is currently working on the adaptation process of immigrant Bangladeshis in Canada. Specifically she focuses on how immigrants maintain relationships with family members living in another country and how the process of migration changes those relationships. This is a specific area of inquiry that feeds her initial research interest that explored the causes of inequality in distribution of inherited property among Muslim men and women in Bangladesh. She has also worked on maternal health, reproductive health of women, female entrepreneurship, gendered effects of microcredit, gender differences in adapting to consequences of climate change and resulting food insecurity and so on. She has primarily focused on women's rights issues in Bangladesh and South Asia.

Doctoral research

The State of Muslim Women's Rights to property in Bangladesh

This research project focuses on the issue of women's unequal access to and control over property. In the patriarchal society of Bangladesh men are in possession of most of the landed property and the proposition of sharing increasing amounts of property with women is not welcomed. Therefore when a new National Women's Development Policy (NWDP) was announced in March, 2008 which stated that women would get equal access to and control over property gained through the market or inheritance; it was vehemently opposed by the Islamic political parties as it goes against Shariah law stipulated by the Holy Quran. The objective of this project is to uncover the theological, philosophical, cultural and institutional barriers to implementing an equal rights policy regarding inherited property through comparative ethnographic study on property distribution in urban and rural areas of Bangladesh.

Nehraz Mahmud is a cultural anthropologist specializing in gender equality, legal and health rights of women, transnational migration, family and sibling relations, social participation and pluralism in the context of Canadian immigrant communities and social network. She has obtained Masters in Anthropology from Bangladesh and another joint Masters in Anthropology and Gender Studies from Brandeis University, MA, USA. Ms. Mahmud has been a recipient of Fulbright Scholarship, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship for her academic excellence and research potential. She has worked as a researcher in Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), a premier government research institute that provides important policy inputs. Currently she plays a leading role in the operation of an NGO, Tilottama Voluntary Women’s Organization, in Bangladesh that focuses on providing essential healthcare to the most vulnerable populace in six districts. Ms. Mahmud has obtained several other awards in Bangladesh for academic performances and volunteering work. Her goal remains to dedicate her time and expertise to social research that can have major policy suggestions. Presently, her work focuses on the implication of international migration on families and bonds between separated siblings. She is pursuing this research among Bangladeshi immigrants of the Greater Toronto Area.

Experience as a Trudeau scholar

Becoming a Trudeau Foundation scholar was a dream of mine and it became a reality the day I got the call informing me of my success in becoming a part of this wonderful community. It has been an honour to see my name cited alongside the renowned public figures and accomplished scholars. For me, taking part in the Foundation’s events has been helpful in confidence building, being more adept in communicating ideas and building new bridges. The Foundation staff has always provided personalized attention to every scholar and they have provided me with the opportunity to hone the skill of public speaking. Each year, the annual conference held by the Foundation has given us the opportunity to relate our own research to that particular topic and thinking about ways to provide practical inputs. The opportunity to hear wonderfully skilled and passionate people about their works and their worlds has been a unique gift that no other scholarship would offer to me. I have become more matured as a scholar and have grown as researcher by sharing ideas with experts from different disciplines and having healthy debates. The most wonderful part of the Trudeau community is that, each of its distinguished members have always made themselves available and approachable to others. The mentorship program takes that a step further and help us make strong personal connection with one accomplished professional and I have got many valuable insights from my mentor. Overall, the Trudeau Foundation scholarship is much more than mere financial support, though that has also made big differences in my doctoral research, it is an experience in itself that is made possible by the dedicated staff of the Foundation.