Woman Empowerment in Bangladesh: Hoping to see a world led by woman
Zayeema Khan writes for DOT :
In the recent years of aiming to achieve a cohesive development of the entire nation, Bangladesh has managed to stand out as one of the leading countries where a significant amount of change has resulted from a continued and direct approach towards the advancement of the female populous. The woman in the country have effectively managed to portray themselves as an epitome of the effects and accomplishments of woman empowerment in this era. Statistics help demonstrate the distinguishable disparity in the times preceding and following the empowerment of women. Women of this age and time no longer require or feel the need to sit back homes while depend on someone else; namely their father or husbands, for a means to sustain their livelihood. They try their utmost to attest to their capabilities as a major financial contributor of their family.They no longer lag behind men in any spectrum of life i.e. education, politics, profession, sports and etc. Years of continued self-reflection, dedication, perseverance, hard work and compassion has brought them at an equal and just footing with men.
The number of working women increased to 18.6 million in 2016-17 from 16.2 million in 2010. In comparison to neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Nepal and India, Bangladesh is flourishing with innovative ideas which provide equal opportunities to women, offering them work in all sectors of human activity by encouraging them to outgrow their potential. While doing so, the women care enough to strike a balance between their career and commitment towards their family life. One may marvel as to how women professes the ability to take up roles of a dutiful wife, a loving daughter and an affectionate mother nevertheless not forgoing their desire to attain a position of respect in the society;fighting against all odds to create a distinct identity of their own, separate from their male counterpart and/or father.
Even though in terms of cultural, social and religious outlook, the country stillupholds a backdated male chauvinisticview and due to the prevalent gender discrimination and dominance of men upon women; there has been many constitutional support from the government in protecting woman’s rights. Various legislations have been passed by the Government in the form of Acts, Rules and Regulations like Dowry Prohibition Act 2018, Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Rules 2013, Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010, Woman and Children Violence Protection Act 2000, Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 and Family Courts Ordinance 1985.
The current government has prioritized the advancement of women through access to health, education, labour market, employment and social protection. Allocating the highest amount for the sector in the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget plan, further highlights the effort made by both national and international sectors to expand women’s advancements, improve women’s condition and reduce gender inequality. Visible impacts can be seen in areas such as sports, where just recently the Bangladeshi Women’s Cricket Team has performed remarkably and won the Asia Cup 2018 against the Cricket superpower India while the U-18 football team have finished as group champions in the Saff U-18 championship, further validating the announcement of the emergence of a rising nation of warriors, resurrected from the broken shackles of gender inequality.
There have been many fine examples of women leaders in Bangladesh who acknowledge and promote the idea of women presence, participation and progression. A few names stand highlighted when researching the history of women mobilization. The current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has received a number of rightful recognition for always promoting women’s rights and facilitating the growing presence of working women in Bangladesh. She received the Global Women’s leadership award in April, 2018; one of many acknowledgements; for her outstanding leadership in women’s education and entrepreneurship.
Barrister Sara Hossain, a remarkable practicing lawyer of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh is also an executive director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST). Doing exemplary work for promoting women’s rights in Bangladesh,she has also worked with the United Nations towards promoting human rights across the world and was recently appointed by the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, as a member to serve on the Commission of Inquiry into the protests of 2018 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
A pioneering leader, Dr Rabia Bhuiyan was awarded the Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa by the University of London, to mark Dr Bhuiyan’s receipt of this prestigious award for her work in the field of legal education in Bangladesh. One such instance is her work towards implementing the Environmental Conservation Act and the Environment Conservation Rules by challenging the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in Bangladesh to protect people from arsenic contamination in tube wells across the country.
Barrister Rashna Imam has been recognized for her work for public interest, challenging arbitrary and discriminatory laws in addition to helping establish a legal framework for emergency-medical services and advocating for citizenship rights, among many other achievements in the legal sector. She has been recognized as one of Asia-Pacific’s foremost young leaders in 2018.
A young girl named ZaibaTahyya was conferred with the prestigious ‘Queen’s Young Leaders Award’ after her work in promoting gender equality in society, in Dhaka. This entitled her to take part in a year-long leadership course run by the University of Cambridge to receive bespoke mentoring.
In the last 10 years, Bangladesh has made progress in leaps and bounds in closing the gender gap while ranking 47th among 144 countries in 2017 as per The Global Gender Gap Report. The country now revels in a palpable change in society where women have control over their lives and play an influential role in society as decision makers. Exemplary feats include significant reduction in the infant and child mortality rate, poverty alleviation and increment in women entrepreneurship, education and health.Mobility and availability of opportunities are essential in strengthening the voices and rights of women, and the promising status quo helps paint a very bright future for the country and its’ female populous.
The writer is Barrister-at- law, Lincoln’s Inn. Uk
Associate, FM Associates