Stating that Bangladesh’s women have proved that they can achieve any success like their male counterparts, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the country will move faster towards prosperity if men and women can work together.
‘The prosperity of a country is a must if men and women can work there together. Our aim is to make the country prosperous and poverty-free one,’ she said.
The prime minister made the comment while addressing the inaugural function of the International Women’s Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The ministry of women and children affairs arranged the function with state minister Meher Afroz Chumki in the chair.
United Nations resident coordinator and United Nations Development Programme resident representative in Bangladesh Mia Seppo was present at the function as a special guest. Women and children affairs secretary Nasima Begum delivered the welcome address.
Sheikh Hasina said that if women were left behind in a society, it would be able to hold its head up with dignity.
‘To make that happen, we’re working to give them proper scope in all spheres of life for flourishing their merits and talents,’ she said.
The prime minister said the women of the country have already proved themselves which cannot be done by women in many developed and civilised countries of the world. “Bangladesh women have showed they can,’ she added.
She urged the country’s womenfolk to take their every step with confidence and dignity. ‘You must perform your responsibility towards your respective families, too,’ she said.
Hasina said that her government took every step to provide education for every child in the country. ‘They’ll grow up with all human qualities, move in the world arena with dignity, compete with others coping with the pace of the world.’
Laying emphasis on greater participation of women in politics for women empowerment, the prime minister said that the trend of participation of women in politics has increased to a great extent due to initiatives of the present government.
Currently, the prime minister and the leader of the house, the opposition leader, the deputy leader of the house and a whip in Bangladesh are women.
She said that 30 per cent seats in local government bodies like union and upazila parishads, municipalities and city corporations have been kept reserved for women.
Hasina also stressed the need for developing women leadership from the grassroots level.
Referring to formation of some development committees at the union and upazila parishads with women as chairpersons, Hasina said that women were playing an important role in decision making while they were working to utilise the opportunities there.
Recalling to the role of the nations’s founding president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in upholding the dignity of women, Hasina said that Sheikh Mujib ensured their equal rights in all spheres of life.
While talking about Sheikh Mujib’s various steps for the rehabilitation of those mothers and sisters who were tortured by Pakistani occupation forces and their local cohorts, she said that many parents did not accept their daughters who were sexually abused during the War of Liberation.
‘Bangabandhu had arranged the marriage of those girls and told my mother to write his name (Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) as the father and 32 Dhanmondi as the address of those girls who didn’t want to disclose their identities,’ she said.
Hasina said that the success of women was everywhere in Bangladesh and they were now at an equal level along with their male counterparts in education, games and sports and creative fields.
She mentioned that the country’s women were now in very high position in all sectors like the administration, judiciary, education, administration, as well as in the armed forces and in lawenforcement agencies.
The prime minister also elaborated on the various steps taken by her government for the development and welfare of women.
A documentary on women development in Bangladesh was also screened at the function.
Earlier, the prime minister distributed ‘Joyeeta’ awards among the winners for their achievements in life.
Later, the prime minister witnessed a cultural function performed by the artistes of Shilpakala