Rights activists and women politicians on Friday emphasised that it was crucial for women to participate in all spheres of society, especially in decision making, if the goal of building a better and democratic society is to be achieved.
They made the comment while speaking in different sessions on the first day of the two-day online national conference organised by women’s rights organisation Naripokkho.
Addressing a session on ‘Women’s participation in politics and representation’, Munshiganj-2 lawmaker Sagufta Yasmin said that educating the girls and women was crucial so that they could overcome the challenges.
She said that women regularly faced challenges in all spheres and even the elected women in local government often face harsh words from their male colleagues.
She said that women had no right to properties while they were most affected when religion was used to secure social and political supremacy of the powerful.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad general secretary Maleka Banu said that women’s participation in politics did not translate into women’s empowerment and added that though the constitution stipulates equal rights for both male and female, females were still struggling to establish their rights.
She demanded direct election for women’s reserved seats in the Jatiya Sangsad for strengthening democracy.
Socialist Party of Bangladesh’s Barishal member secretary Manisha Chakraborty said that the position of a number of women on different key posts did not mean that they were empowered.
She mentioned that the culture of impunity, social insecurity, ruling party’s backing for the offenders and rapists, verbal attacks on women in religious programmes, presenting women in cinema and advertisements as a commodity are the barriers that hinder women’s advancement.
Use of muscle power in the elections also discourages women from contesting the elections, she said, and stressed the need for progressive, democratic and secular politics to bring the necessary changes to strive towards a woman-friendly society.
Moderated by Natipokkho executive member Rina Roy and member Mahfuza Akhter Mala, the session was also addressed by Khagrachhari district council member Shatarupa Chakma.
Earlier, Naripokkho’s former president Syeda Ruhi Ghuznavi was given a reception.
Moderated by Naripokkho executive member Mahin Sultan and former president Archana Biswas, the first session on ‘Women’s position in economy’ was addressed by Dhaka University professor Tasneem Siddique, Karmajibi Nari acting executive director Sanjida Sultana, Bangladesh Centre for Workers’ Solidarity executive director Kalpana Akhter and Sylhet Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Swarnalata Roy.
Naripokkho president Mahmuda Begum Gini delivered the welcoming speech and movement secretary Tamanna Khan gave the inaugural speech in the conference.
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